Two years ago today, “lives changed forever”

By: - February 14, 2020 11:03 am
One Year Anniversary Parkland tragedy

A memorial at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, following the mass shooting on February 14, 2018, in Parkland. Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Two years ago on Feb. 14, 17 students and staff were slain by a gunman at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County.

The massacre led to some reforms by the Florida Legislature to stem gun violence and keep schools safe —  but advocates say that’s not nearly enough.

Ban Assault Weapons NOW, a group that includes parents of children who died that day in 2018, writes:

“On Feb. 14, 2018, our lives changed forever. A gunman with a military-grade assault weapon murdered 14 students and three educators at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Three minutes was all it took — all because he had access to an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle which is designed to kills as many people as possible in as little time as possible.

Two years later, our NRA-backed politicians still haven’t taken a single action to ban these weapons of war and prevent another massacre like Parkland.”

The ban assault weapons group continues to pursue action, in both the Legislature and the voting booths, but it faces challenges.

The Florida Phoenix wrote recently:

“Prohibiting military-style assault weapons in Florida appears to be out of the picture this year, with advocates unable to get enough signatures to place a Constitutional amendment on the 2020 ballot.

Now, the advocacy groups are focusing their hopes on legislation in the Florida Legislature that would require background checks and other requirements for firearms sold at public places, such as gun shows and flea markets.”

Today, the Ban Assault Weapons NOW group has asked people to honor the lives lost on Feb. 14, 2018, by signing a special remembrance card on the website.

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ schedule Friday includes a 3 p.m. “Moment of silence in honor of Marjory Stoneman Douglas Remembance Day.”
Terrie Rizzo, chair of the Florida Democratic Party, released this written statement:
“On February 14, 2018, students and faculty at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School started their day as they did countless days before, but because of the actions of one person, 17 people would never come home again. Our heart aches for all those hurt or murdered that day.
Sadly in our state, someone can purchase a semi-automatic gun, find a crowded place, and become a walking weapon of mass destruction. The Florida Democratic Party commends the student founders of March For Our Lives, and we thank you for your work to make Florida and America a safer place.”

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Diane Rado
Diane Rado

Diane Rado has covered state and local government and public schools in six states over some 30 years, focusing on policy and investigative stories as well as legislative and political reporting. She spent most of her career at the St. Petersburg (Tampa Bay) Times and the Chicago Tribune. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and did a fellowship in education reform at the University of Michigan in 1999-2000. She is married to a journalist and has three adult children.