Parkland shooting survivor and anti-gun activist David Hogg has vowed never to return to school until guns are banned in America.
“I’m not going back to school on Wednesday until one bill is passed,” Hogg said at gun control rally Sunday in New Jersey.
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Nydailynews.com reports: “Literally any legislation at this point would be a success. Considering the fact that so few legislators in Florida met with us and they want the people to forget, that’s disgusting. The fact that they want people to forget about this and elect them again as the child murderers they are, that’s unacceptable and we’re not going to let that happen.”
Hogg, 17, who survived the Feb. 14 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High Schoolshooting, was as one of four students who rallied for new gun legislation with New Jersey politicians at Temple B’nai Abraham in Livingston.
He and several of his classmates, including Livingston native Harris Jaffe, 16, have been touring the country since the shooting, trying to drum up political support for new gun legislation in the days since former student Nikolas Cruz, 19, was arrested and charged with killing 17 students and teachers with an assault rifle.
“We want to put restrictions on so it can’t be that easy,” said Jaffe.
“An 18-year-old that has a history of being a bad kid shouldn’t be able to get hundreds of rounds of a weapon in a matter of days,” he said. “We don’t want to be known as the last school that got shot up. We want to be known as the last school that ever got shot up.”
The students joined U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and hundreds of supporters in Livingston, a well-to-do suburb about 25 miles from the city, for a rally in support of comprehensive background checks and a ban on assault rifles.
“Once again a weapon of mass murder was used to commit mass murder in America schools,” Menendez said. “We are not here to offer our thoughts and prayers once again.
“How high must the body count climb before Congress puts the safety of our families ahead of the gun industry? “It’s time for the madness to end.”
Livingston resident Billie Chaleff, 45, came out with her 11-year-old daughter, Aubrey, and held a sign that read “Protect our kids now.”
“No parent, no child should wake up every morning feeling worried if this is going to be the last time they’re going to see their children,” Chaleff said.
“I feel it can happen in elementary school, middle school and high school, even on a weekend. Even going to the mall, I always look and see where the closest exits to leave the mall (are) or to go into a store to the back room.”
She said she was moved by the survivors’ courage and determination.
“It brought chills to me. I actually wanted to go up to every single one of them and hug them and just tell them that they’re our heroes.”
In Florida on Sunday, students and family were allowed to return to their school for the first time since the massacre to collect belongings left behind in panicked flight.
Freshman Francesca Lozano, accompanied by her mother, said it was frightening to see the school, but her friends were a comfort. “That made it a lot better,” she said.
Outside the school, 17 people dressed in white angel costumes stood by a makeshift memorial.
The visits were intended as a way for students to ease into a return to school. Classes resume Wednesday.
Gov. Rick Scott has called for raising the minimum age to buy a gun in the state, among other measures.
Stoneman Douglas students called Scott’s proposals a good start, but not enough.
Yet the prospects for any gun reform appear even less uncertain in Washington, where members of Congress are returning to work after a 10-day break.
Republican leaders have been silent as President Trump tossed out ideas, including raising the minimum age to purchase assault-style weapons and arming teachers, though on Saturday the President tweeted that the latter was “Up to states.”