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A student who survived this week's deadly Florida school shooting gave an impassioned speech at a gun control protest in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday, calling out those opposed to firearm regulations.
Wiping tears from her face amidst crowd chants of “Enough is enough,” Emma Gonzalez, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, also expressly criticized President Donald Trump and the National Rifle Association.
Referencing a tweet from the president in which he questioned the suspected shooter's mental health and called on people to report suspicious behavior to authorities, Gonzalez said, “We did. Time and time again — since he was in middle school. It was no surprise to anyone who knew him to hear that he was a shooter.”
“We need to pay attention to the fact that this isn't just a mental health issue. He wouldn't have harmed that many students with a knife,” Gonzalez shouted.
She expressly blamed “the people who let him buy the guns in the first place,” but also heaped scorn on legislators for not doing enough.
“If the president wants to come up to me and tell me to my face that it was a terrible tragedy and how it should never have happened and maintain telling us how nothing is going to be done about it, I'm going to happily ask him how much money he received from the National Rifle Association,” she said to huge cheers. “But, hey, you wanna know something? It doesn't matter, because I already know: $30 million.”
“To every politician who is taking donations from the NRA — shame on you,” Gonzalez said.
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Saturday's demonstration took place outside the Federal Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, with participants calling on lawmakers to enact stricter gun control laws in the wake of the tragic mass shooting that killed 17 on Wednesday.
According to its Facebook page, the event was sponsored by Senator Gary Farmer, the Parent-Teacher Association, Women's March Florida, and Broward County Public Schools.
Democrats in Florida have used the tragedy to call for cracking down on gun control laws in the state.
Many students who survived the Parkland, Florida shooting have also taken to social media to air their anger and frustration about gun control in the wake of the attack.
Also on Saturday morning, the Miami Gun Show opened less than 50 miles from Stoneman Douglas, featuring 140 vendors selling a variety of weapons including handguns and AR-15s, the weapon used in Wednesday's attack.
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In her speech, Gonzalez took aim at Trump for signing a law in February of 2017 that revoked an Obama-era regulatory initiative that made it harder for people with mental illnesses to buy guns.
“The people in the government who are voted into power are lying to us,” Gonzalez said. “And us kids seem to be the only ones who notice and are prepared to call BS.”
“Politicians who sit in their gilded House and Senate seats funded by the NRA telling us nothing could ever be done to prevent this — we call BS!” Gonzalez said.
“They say that tougher gun laws do not decrease gun violence — we call BS. They say a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun — we call BS!”
“They say guns are just tools like knives and are as dangerous as cars, we call BS. They say no laws would have been able to prevent the hundreds of senseless tragedies that have occurred — we call BS!”
Gonzalez said she and her classmates would work to change gun laws in the US.
“We are going to be the last mass shooting,” she said.
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