Q&A: Jacksonville high school students lobby for gun reform

By Bruce Hamilton - The Morning Show anchor, Ronnie Rodgers - Associate Producer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Some Jacksonville students are joining others from around the country in asking for gun reform after the deadly Parkland school shooting last month. 

Lucas Mougeot, Carol Dahi and Jacob Hancock all traveled to Tallahassee to have their voices heard.

News4Jax anchor Bruce Hamilton spoke with these students Tuesday about their gun reform efforts and what they think of a school safety bill passed by the Florida Senate on Monday.


Q: Were you happy with the reception that you got from lawmakers?

LM: No, I wasn't. Frankly, we traveled around three hours to get there. And once we were there, some people took 30 minutes to talk. And once we were there, they were like, "Alright, we're not going to have you speak because we don't have enough time." The fact is that we'd already prepared somebody to speak, so ... they could have just said, "Hey, here's 60 seconds to speak," but I don't think they wanted to hear us, because they know how vocal the youth are. 

Q: Carol, do you have the same frustration?

CD: Yeah. When it was our turn to speak, they just said, "We don't have enough time for you." As students, you should have time for us, because we are the ones who are directly affected by this bill. It is about schools, and we are the ones who go to school. Not you. So when they go, "You only have like 30 seconds or 60 seconds to speak," that's not enough time for us to say what we want to say. 

Q: If you could talk to legislators right now, would you tell them you think that what they passed goes far enough?

JH: I do think it  goes far enough. But I think there is also another issue, which I wanted to bring up in Tallahassee. The issue is that there is also a cultural problem. It's not just a gun problem....In today's media, there is a lot of violence displayed everywhere. Now, I'm not saying that's leading to it, but the mental health funding, which they offered will help to move, reduce this.   

Q: What would you say to the members of the House about what's on the table and whether or not it goes far enough?

JH: I believe the bill does go far enough. I believe it is correct to arm qualified teachers at the discretion of the school districts. 

LM: Personally, I don't think it goes far enough. Here's why: I think they need a ban on assault riffles. I'm not saying they need to suspend the 2nd Amendment, cause that's our freedom to defend ourselves.


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