What to Know
- Students from the school where everything changed on February 14th were the driving force behind the event in our nation’s capital.
- Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg were in attendance along with Broward County Schools Superintendent Dr. Robert Runcie.
For over six minutes, in front of an estimated 800,000 people near the Capitol building in Washington D.C., one of the most vocal leaders of the movement for gun law reform in the wake of the Parkland school tragedy stood silent.
Emma Gonzalez, the 18-year-old Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School senior who has become a national figure with her fiery speeches, had tears rolling down her face as the crowd followed her silent lead.
"Six minutes and about 20 seconds. In a little over six minutes, 17 of our friends were taken from us. Fifteen were injured and everyone, absolutely everyone, was forever altered," Gonzalez said.
Students from the school where everything changed on February 14th, when former student and suspected gunman Nikolas Cruz entered and opened fire, were the driving force behind the event in our nation’s capital – a movement that included an estimated 800 similar rallies across the country.
Stoneman Douglas junior Alex Wind spoke and sharply condemned the National Rifle Association and all politicians and people standing in the way of gun reform.
"Together, we will use our voices to make sure that our schools, churches, movie theaters, and concerts and our streets become safer without having them feel like prisons," Wind said. "If teachers start packing heat, are they going to arm our pastors, ministers and rabbis? This is what the National Rifle Association wants and we will not stand for it."
One of Florida's U.S. Senators, Marco Rubio, said that while he did not agree with all the solutions that those rallying want, he commended those for exercising their First Amendment rights.
"I respect their views and recognize that many Americans support certain gun bans. However, many other Americans do not support a gun ban," Rubio said in a statement. "“While protests are a legitimate way of making a point, in our system of government, making a change requires finding common ground...and finding common ground is what it will take to pass our red flag law so we can take guns away from dangerous people.”
Gonzalez and David Hogg, students at the school and two of the most vocal members of the gun law reform movement, were in attendance along with Broward County Schools Superintendent Dr. Robert Runcie.
Before he began his speech, Hogg called out Rubio and warned all politicians in power who oppose or are ambivalent to gun reform, adding that low voter turnout will not occur in the 2018 midterm election.
"If you listen real close, you can hear the people in power shaking," Hogg said. "They have gotten used to being protective of their position, through the safety of inaction. Inaction is no longer safe, and to that, we say no more."