Protesters outside Coral Springs Walmart decry gun violence amid nationwide calls for change

CORAL SPRINGS, FLA. (WSVN) - Protesters came together in Coral Springs to call for tougher gun legislation and to demand accountability from lawmakers supported by the National Rifle Association.

The group gathered outside of the Walmart along Coral Ridge Drive, located near Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Saturday.

“This is what democracy looks like,” chanted demonstrators.

The protest took place a week after the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, left 31 people dead and ignited calls for gun reform.

“To stop selling firearms and to stop giving money to NRA-backed lawmakers and candidates!” said a demonstrator.

Protesters also called for Walmart to step selling guns after the El Paso shooting, which partly took place at a Walmart and left 22 people dead.

The large retailer announced it will remove violent video game signs but will not stop selling firearms.

Manuel Oliver, the father of Parkland victim Joaquin Oliver, who was in El Paso at the same time of the massacre. He said video games are not to blame for this string of mass shootings.

“Thinking video games is the main cause of these massive tragedies, I think, is a total mistake,” he said, “so I’ve got to make sure that we give the right message, the true legit message.”

Meanwhile, Democratic presidential candidates weighed in on the issue at a gun safety forum held in Des Moines, Iowa.

“The biggest and most important thing we should to do, though, right away is get assault weapons off the street again,” said former Vice President Joe Biden.

“On the issue of Walmart, yeah, they should stop selling guns. I do believe that,” said U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif. “We need background checks. Let’s just start with that.”

“What we need to do right now is to hold those gun manufacturers responsible,” said U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt.

“I think we need a president who is willing to stick with this issue to make sure we drive it forward,” said U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo.

Back in South Florida, attendees at the Pines Gun Show in Pembroke Pines differed when asked about a ban on assault weapons.

“If you give them any of it, they are gonna try to take it all, and I won’t give up any of my rights, so I don’t want to lose any of them,” said Kim.

“There’s no reason to. I can’t see why they would want to ban them,” said James Cheney.

But some gun enthusiasts at the event said they’re on board with universal background checks.

“I think there should be background checks to weed out the people who shouldn’t have guns,” said Nick Amore.

President Donald Trump has said he is in touch with Democrats and Republicans to push universal background checks, indicating Republican leadership is on board. However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been less committal in recent interviews.

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