TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS DESK) - The three dozen students found a friendly ear with Democratic State Senator Perry Thurston. He represents part of the county where 17 were killed last week.
“It’s easier to buy a gun than it is to make plans with my friends on the weekend, and that’s not okay,”said Stoneman Douglas sophomore Rachel Catania.
While bills have already been filed to ban assault style rifles, they’re going nowhere. Thurston now plans to amend them on other bills.
Thurston believes this will do more than just put their ideas on the record. He says, “Get them on the record but also hopefully to get them to prick their hearts and hope to get them to do the right thing.”
The next stop for the students, State Senator Dennis Baxley.
The author of Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law. He’s an advocate for arming teachers as the first line of defense.
Stoneman senior Natalie Feehand tells him about the struggles she has had after the shooting. “I’ve had anxiety attacks. We need you to work the left to get things done.”
Senator Baxley then posed this question, “Five minutes before law enforcement even gets set up. What do we do with that?”
Stoneman student Lizzy Eaton said, “I think he did emphasize with us, and I think he did understand us, but I think he needs to really, you know, step outside his comfort zone and really make a change.”
At another stop down the hall. Miami State Senator Rene Garcia.
Ashley Keene is a student at Cypress Bay High School, another school in Broward County. She said, “I think we can all collectively agree that no fourteen year old should be shot in the stomach while trying to learn algebra.”
New legislation is being developed that will not go as far as the students would like, but it is a step in their direction.
It raises the age for buying an AR 15 from 18 to 21. It also requires a three day cooling off period for all gun purchases, not just handguns.