Survivors of Florida high school shooting call for action on gun control

ByABC News
February 15, 2018, 6:17 PM

— -- In interviews and tweets during and after the shooting at a high school in Florida on Wednesday students and teachers that experienced the horrible event firsthand called on Congress to enact stricter gun control laws to prevent it from happening again.

A former student shot and killed 17 people, including students, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday afternoon. More than a dozen more people were injured. The FBI is now investigating whether the shooter previously threatened to commit a school shooting in social media posts.

The superintendent of the school district Robert Runcie said in a press conference Thursday "our students are asking for that conversation and I hope we can get it done in this generation but if we don't, they will."

A senior at the school, David Hogg, said people should not get normalize mass shooting incidents like this because it will only happen again.

“This is a time for our country to take a look in the mirror and realize there is a serious issue here," he told ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopolous on "Good Morning America" on Thursday.

Hogg said that none of his friends were hurt in the shooting but that two of his sister's best friends, who is a freshman at the school, were shot and killed. He works as a student reporter and interviewed some of his classmates while they were hiding in a classroom during the shooting, according to video obtained by verification site Storyful.

"I really don't think there's anything new to say but there shouldn't have to be because if you looked around this closet and saw everyone just hiding together you would know that this shouldn't be happening anymore and that it doesn't have to happen to anyone and that no amount of money should make it more accessible to have guns," a female student identified by the Florida Sun Sentinel as Isabelle Robinson tells Hogg in a video posted on YouTube.

Another student Hogg interviewed said she previously rallied for gun rights and planned to join the NRA and learn to hunt when she turned 18 but that the experience was so traumatizing she couldn't fathom even letting a gun into her house.

"It's definitely eye opening to the fact that we need more gun control in our country because for this to happen and for people to be so neutralized to it, I even texted my sisters "shooting at my school. I am safe." They both responded with "OMG. LOL, you're funny" Now that's a problem in society and its a bigger problem in America and it needs to be fixed and I think the most definite way to fix it is by changing our laws when it comes to gun ownership," she said in the video. Her name was unclear in the audio.

On Twitter another student, Sarah Chadwick, called for action in response to President Trump's tweet offering prayers and saying "No child, teacher or anyone should ever feel unsafe in an American school." She tweeted "my friends and teachers were shot. Multiple of my classmates are dead. Do something instead of sending prayers. Prayers won't fix this. But Gun Control will prevent it from happening again."

Her tweet received hundreds of thousands of retweets but has since been deleted. In another tweet Thursday afternoon she apologized for profane language in the original tweet but said she does not apologize for being angry.

"I hope you know I’m a grieving 16 year old girl who lost friends, teachers, and peers yesterday. I was and am still angry. I am apologizing for my comment but not for my anger," she said in the tweet.

Gun control legislation proposed in the wake of other mass shootings, most recently a bill that would restrict the kind of bump stocks used in the Las Vegas shooting, have not moved forward in Congress.

A teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School said on MSNBC that the students and teachers were well prepared for an active shooter situation but that still didn't prevent 17 people from being shot and killed.

"They knew what to do, we knew what to do and even still, even with that we still have 17 casualties 17 people that aren't going to return to their families. And that's totally unacceptable," Melissa Falkowski said in an interview with Rachel Maddow on Wednesday night. "So from my personal viewpoint its time for Congress, government, somebody to do something and its time to talk about what the problem is and try to fix it."

In previous mass shootings activists or lawmakers seeking more strict gun control policies have criticized other elected officials for saying that the immediate aftermath of a mass shooting was not the appropriate time to talk about gun policies.

President Trump said Friday that he will be meeting with governors in the next month to discuss making schools safer but did not mention gun laws, but did say and tweet Friday morning about the mental health of the shooter.