Parkland, Florida, Mar 14 (EFE).- Students at a high school in this city that was the scene of a Feb. 14 mass shooting took part in a walk-out protest Wednesday to pay tribute to the 17 victims of the massacre and demand greater gun control.
The nearly 3,000 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in South Florida marched in silence through the halls of that institution before gathering on the school’s football field.
The demonstration was part of a series of walk-outs at schools nationwide aimed at persuading politicians to take action to prevent similar tragedies in the future.
The walkouts – many lasting 17 minutes, in honor of the 14 students and three staff members killed by gunman Nikolas Cruz – took place at nearly 3,000 schools around the country and were organized by the youth wing of the Women’s March organization.
Those protests coincide with a hearing Wednesday in a Broward County courtroom, where Cruz will be formally arraigned on 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder.
Students in different parts of the country want the United States Congress to place new restrictions on the sale of guns, including a ban on assault weapons; expand background checks on gun sales to include gun shows and Internet sales; and declare gun violence a public health crisis, thus earmarking funds for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to research the problem.
Last week, Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed into law a school safety bill passed by the state’s Republican-majority legislature.
Among other things, the law raises the minimum age for purchasing a firearm from 18 to 21 and extends a three-day waiting period on handgun purchases to also include most long guns.
It also allows some teachers and staff to carry guns on school grounds if they undergo law-enforcement training and tightens restrictions on gun ownership for people with mental health problems.