Parkland survivors, victims' parents reflect on year of progress since massacre

One year after the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, some Marjory Stoneman Douglass student survivors and victims' parents turned their pain into activism to fight for stronger gun laws.
7:27 | 02/14/19

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Transcript for Parkland survivors, victims' parents reflect on year of progress since massacre
I was a dance dad. This is the room my daughter used to dance in. I expected to continue watching my daughter dance, to go to competitions. Over the years, I've just, this room has been a part of my life, you know? All those dreams that I had as a dad for my daughter, they started in this room. Reporter: Those dreams, to watch his child's hopes realized were ripped from Fred Gutenberg's hands one year ago on Thursday. 17 dead after a shooting rampage inside a Florida high school. Reporter: It was a scene we hoped we'd never seen again, this time at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school. I took a book up and held it up like this, and I was holding it. It was just a defensive measure, and it helped me feel a little better, like I was safer. He kept shooting through the rectangular window. It hit two people near to me. Reporter: In total, 17 lives were cut short, three faculty members, 14 students, Fred's freshman daughter Jamie was one of them. Barely 24 hours after her murder, Fred took to the podium at a vigil. Jamie was such a special kid. All of the kids here are. And I just went up, and I just started letting it loose. What is unfathomable is Jamie took a bullet and is dead. I, I don't know what I do next. Reporter: His first steps in a search for new purpose. But I can tell you, don't tell me there's no such thing as gun violence. It happened in parkland! I remember saying that night, this time they messed with the wrong community and the wrong dead. Reporter: In the year that followed, Fred became one of many parkland parents and students who turned their grief into a drum beat of change. Never again! Your comments this week and those of our president have been pathetically weak. Fight for your lives before it's someone else's job. Reporter: Becoming accidental activists and perhaps forever changing the debate over gun violence. Today the students behind the March for our lives rally are holding fast. We were shown inside the headquarters, a tiny office that spawned a nationwide movement. This is the photo from the March on the 24th. We are the little people over there. We are that dot. And the fact that we are here talking almost a year later and we're still going and growing means the world because people still care. Reporter: Their first steps as activists came just days after the shooting. Thank you guys for coming out. Reporter: Jaclyn led a group of parkland students to the Florida state capital. A student-organized movement they called "Never again", demanding more than just thoughts and prayers from state lawmakers. What's your personal stance on weapons like the ar-15. It's a head scratcher. It's going to be a debate. Reporter: But within a month, action. Ed Rick Scott signed a bill changing the legal age to buy an assault weapon to 21. Florida is a state that is a really NRA stronghold, but yet very rapidly, they took action. I've been studying gun violence. Welcome to the revolution. Reporter: But the students weren't satisfied. On March 24th last year, a mere six weeks after the shooting, they led a rally in the nation's capitol where hundreds of thousands amassed at what is said to be the largest protest against gun violence in U.S. History. This is real life. This is Reali. This is what's happening in our country and around the world today. I am here. I learned how to duck from bullets before I learned how to read. It is not about reducing bull in schools essentially. Youth activism more generally. No more! There was a 10% increase youth voter turnout in this election. It's safe to say they played a very significant role. Reporter: But this week in parkland, that progress is overshadowed by a painful anniversary. It has felt like the longest year of may life. But at the same time, it's felt like it's gone by in a flash. Reporter: For students like Lauren hogg, February 14th is a stark reminder of the friends she lost. Anybody at my school, anybody who lost a child last Valentine's day, when we go to the stores and we go outside and we happy Valentine's day letters or bouquets of flowers, I have memories of kids running down the hall with their bouquets running from gunshots. There was an incredible amount of flowers everywhere. Reporter: For Jaclyn and Ryan, reminders everywhere of that day and the year that followed. I don't feel like it's a year, but at the same time, I feel like it's been so, so much longer because we've learned so much and done so much. We've lived several lifetimes in the past year. Reporter: Fred plans to spend Valentine's day remembering his daughter Jamie, staying in parkland tomorrow, but not for long. We are not going away. Too many people are dying. This year was 40,000, more than traffic accidents. Any legislator who thinks they should not be taking some action to reduce that number, you should be fired because you're weak. I'm certain, she's on my shoulder now, telling me, you can't put up with this. And you need to be strong.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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