Among growing calls for gun control legislation, students who survived the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School continue to deliver some of the most powerful statements in the wake of the tragedy, and on Sunday a group of them declared that "now is the time for us to stand up" and announced plans for a march in Washington, D.C.
Gonzalez, who on Saturday gave a moving speech that went viral, told NBC, "This is our opportunity to talk to President Trump, Gov. Rick Scott, and state [sic] Senator Marco Rubio to make sure that they know we are talking directly to them and all other members of the United States government that are being funded by the NRA to tell them now is the time to get on the right side of this."
According to Kasky, "the tragedy at Stoneman Douglas was not because of Stoneman Douglas. It was because people like Nik--Nikolas Cruz were able to buy these weapons." Speaking to "Meet the Press," he vowed, "we're not going to let the 17 bullets we just took take us down. If anything, we're going to keep running, and we're going to lead the rest of the nation behind us."
Watch the students' interview on "Meet the Press" below:
One way that's going to happen, he said, is through a march on the streets of Washington and in communities across the nation to demand lawmakers take immediate action on comprehensive gun legislation.
For people who think now, in the immediate aftermath of the attack, is not the time to make the call for the legislation, Kasky said to CNN, "Here's a time to talk about gun control: March 24. My message for the people in office is: You're either with us or against us. We are losing our lives while the adults are playing around."
"You are going to be seeing students in every single major city marching, and we have our lives on the line here, and at the end of the day, that is going to be what's bringing us to victory and to making some sort of right out of this tragedy," he said.
"This is about us begging for our lives," Kasky continued. "This isn't about the GOP. This isn't about the Democrats. This is about us creating a badge of shame for any politicians who are accepting money from the NRA and using us as collateral."
Watch the students' interview on "State of the Union" below:
A call to action for the March 24 event, March For Our Lives, declares, "It doesn’t have to be this way...Refuse to allow one more needless death."
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"March For Our Lives," its mission statement explains, "is created by, inspired by, and led by students across the country who will no longer risk their lives waiting for someone else to take action to stop the epidemic of mass school shootings that has become all too familiar. In the tragic wake of the seventeen lives brutally cut short in Florida, politicians are telling us that now is not the time to talk about guns. March For Our Lives believes the time is now."
"The mission and focus of March For Our Lives," it adds, "is to demand that a comprehensive and effective bill be immediately brought before Congress to address these gun issues."
Hogg, for one, says he doesn't plan on going back to school until such action is taken.
"What I'm looking for is reasonable change with the United States Congress and bills that are passed before I get back to school," he told NBC. "Because this is not the time for inaction and debate. This is the time for discussion, and for all people that are Americans to come together as Americans through love and compassion. This event happened on Valentine's Day. So many people lost loved ones. Our community and our nation have taken too many bullets to the heart."
"And now is the time for us to stand up," he continued, "So I will not feel safe going back to school myself until reasonable mental healthcare legislation and gun control legislation is passed. Because, at this point, it's unacceptable. How many more students are going to have to die and have their blood spilt in American classrooms, trying to make the world a better place just because politicians refuse to take action? That's my question."
"It doesn't have to be this way," the March For Our Lives website adds. "Refuse to allow one more needless death." The March 24 action would join other national walkouts slated to take place in March and April to also bring attention to legislative inaction on gun control.
Trump, for his part, sent out several tweets Sunday morning, though none of them were in reference to the shooting in Parkman. On Saturday, however, he suggested in a tweet that the "FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter" because the agency is "spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign." That tweet prompted Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) to call the president a "psychopath" and argue, "America will regret the day you were ever born."
You are such a psychopath that you have to make even the death of 17 children about you. America will regret the day you were ever born. https://t.co/5jyhVXRSRn
— Ruben Gallego (@RubenGallego) February 18, 2018
The president's tweet also came under fire from Stoneman Douglas High students, including Morgan Williams, who condemned Trump's audacity, and tweeted in response, "HAVE A DAMN HEART. You can keep all of your fake and meaningless 'thoughts and prayers'."
Oh my god. 17 OF MY CLASSMATES AND FRIENDS ARE GONE AND YOU HAVE THE AUDACITY TO MAKE THIS ABOUT RUSSIA???!! HAVE A DAMN HEART. You can keep all of your fake and meaningless “thoughts and prayers”. https://t.co/al9DWBM2AW
— Morgan Williams (@morganw_44) February 18, 2018