POMPANO BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Anger over the Parkland school shooting stretched to Pompano Beach this weekend, as dozens of protesters gathered outside the new home of gun manufacturer Kalashnikov USA.
Saturday’s rally, held just a few miles from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, was fueled by calls to ban the AK-47 assault rifle.
“It’s unfair that people have not done something about this before,” said a demonstrator as she spoke to the crowd gathered outside the facility.
“We need to make sure that we’re making change,” said a protester.
Kalashnikov USA’s slogan is “no one knows AKs like we do.”
The AK-47 is a high-caliber Russian gun used on battlefields around the world, and critics say it shouldn’t be produced in their backyard.
“We’ll put an end to the building, to the making of these guns within our community,” said demonstrator Steve Goodman.
The City of Pompano Beach has been negotiating with the company since 2015 to move to Florida and bring 54 new jobs at an average salary of $51,000 a year.
The facility has also been met with criticism from students who lived through the Feb. 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
“I could discuss the morals of it. I could tell you I’m disgusted, but you know you’re disgusting,” said shooting survivor Cameron Kasky.
Pompano Beach’s resolution states it “seeks to attract certain companies, which will help create a strong tax base for the city, foster the city’s image as an attractive business location and further the city’s economic development.”
But for a grieving and concerned community, the idea of making guns near their own homes is unsettling and unthinkable.
Kasky put it bluntly. “With or without a shooting, if there’s somebody making guns near a school, bye,” he said.
The guns made at the Pompano Beach facility will only be sold wholesale, so there will be no sales to the public.
Representatives from Kalashnikov USA did not return 7News’ calls for comment.
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