The Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, caught the nation’s attention, like other school shootings. But this time, the gun control movement gained traction in a way never seen before.
More than 700 March for Our Lives protests nationwide occurred Saturday to catch lawmakers’ attention, including at least 10 in Louisiana.
NSU student Jacob Bennett attended the Washington rally Saturday, citing inaction from the government as the driving force behind his participation.
“I am not content with doing nothing,” Bennett said. “I believe there are actions Congress can take to make us safer, and if that’s true, they’re only going to do it if the people put the pressure on them.”
The junior strategic communications major stayed at alumnus Kip Patrick’s home in Washington after two faculty members put them in touch and helped fund the trip.
“It was definitely a moving and humbling experience,” Bennett said.
Though he disagrees with the movement’s proposed assault weapon ban, Bennett is on board with everything else.
“I don’t think the March for Our Lives movement is perfect,” he said. “But it’s definitely the gun movement with the most momentum so far and because of that, I wanted to support it.”
Bennett is also in favor of requiring gun training programs similar to driver’s education, though he thinks this is unlikely.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards doesn’t believe arming teachers is a “good idea,” and said he would oppose legislation allowing teachers to carry concealed weapons at school.
“I think we need to focus on other school safety measures,” he said in a press conference last week.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, released a statement Saturday supporting protesters’ First Amendment rights but called for compromise in lobbying for change, citing Florida’s recent ban of bump stocks as an example that soon may sweep the nation.
My full statement on today's marches: pic.twitter.com/ZpRNotSbyP
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) March 24, 2018
“Making a change requires finding common ground with those who hold opposing views,” Rubio said. “And finding common ground is what it will take to pass our red flag law so we can take guns away from dangerous people.”
At a recent town hall hosted and televised by CNN, Stoneman Douglas student and gun control advocate Cameron Kasky challenged Rubio to stop accepting money from the National Rifle Association. Rubio didn’t agree to this and claimed money plays no factor in his policy decisions.
“The influence of these groups comes not from money,” Rubio said. “The influence comes from the millions of people that agree with the agenda, the millions of Americans that support the NRA.”