Hundreds protest gun laws

WASHINGTON: Hundreds of school pupils took to the streets of Fort Lauderdale on Saturday to call for stricter gun laws in the US days after a deadly shooting at a Florida high school. Chants of “shame on you” rang out as survivors of the shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland stood alongside teachers and government representatives of several districts advocating gun control. The anti-gun protest comes after a 19-year-old former student allegedly stormed the school on Wednesday and opened fire with a semi-automatic weapon, killing 17.
Since then, pupils have taken to social media, TV and the streets demanding a response from the authorities. Some have particularly called out politicians who have taken campaign donations from the powerful National Rifle Association (NRA).
Pupil Emma Gonzalez made a teary and impassioned plea in front of the crowd and cameras, with a message to US authorities and politicians that “we call BS” — an abbreviation for ‘bullshit’ — on claims that stricter gun control would not stop mass shootings.

Protesters hold signs at the rally for gun control. — AFP

“Politicians who sit in their gilded house and senate seats funded by the NRA telling us nothing could have ever been done to prevent this — we call BS,” Gonzalez said.
“They say that no laws could have able to prevent the hundreds of senseless tragedies that occurred — we call BS,” Gonzalez said.
It was important to acknowledge that this is not just a mental health issue, she told the crowd.
“He wouldn’t have harmed that many students with a knife.”
President Donald Trump focused on mental health rather than gun laws in his comments on the shooting earlier this week.
He tweeted that there were “so many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed” on Thursday.
Turning to Trump, Gonzalez added that “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.” “To every politician taking donations from the NRA, shame on you,” Gonzalez said. — dpa