Florida school shooting revives debate over gun laws

Parkland student survivors call for gun control after tragedy

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Discussion about stricter gun laws has resurfaced after the nation's deadliest school shooting in more than five years. 

Authorities said a 19-year-old gunman used an AR-15 to kill 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Authorities said the suspect, Nikolas Cruz, passed a background check and legally purchased the semi-automatic rifle from a dealer in Florida in February 2017.

A student who survived the shooting, along with his brother, who has autism, called for action to make sure such a massacre never happens again.

“I want more gun control,” Cameron Kasky said. “I am not trying to tear guns away from the hands of Americans. But the shooter was able to legally purchase a gun, and he was a mentally troubled 19-year-old. If he had been through just the least bit of screening, this could not have happened.”

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, said more needs to be done to protect the community from future attacks. 

"We've got to say, 'Enough is enough.' At some point, we, as a society, have got to come together and put a stop to this," Nelson said. "This senator grew up on a ranch. I have hunted all my life. I have had guns all my life. I still hunt with my son, but an AR-15 is not for hunting. It's for killing."

But local gun advocate Eric Friday, an attorney for Florida Carry, said the problem is not guns, but the people who use them.

"The idea of banning it because some people misuse it is as absurd as, 'Let's ban cars because some people drive drunk with them,'" Friday said.

He said the AR-15 is the most popular, commonly sold rifle in the United States today. It was created in the 1950s-1960s for hunting before the military purchased it. Today, people use it for hog hunting and home defense. 

It’s a semi-automatic, which means you have to pull the trigger each time to fire a bullet.

Stoneman Douglas High junior Kristalin Diaz said a gun like that should never have ended up in the shooter's hands.

“There should be more gun laws, more control over that because I don’t think there should be a way that he was able to get that kind of gun,” Diaz said. “It just doesn’t make sense to me.”

Student survivors told News4Jax they want their slain loved ones remembered, but more than that, they want change and answers. They want to make sure other people's loved ones don't have to be remembered after another tragedy. They want the cycle to end.



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