Students, parents and teachers from Parkland's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are rallying Wednesday in Tallahassee.
While many students rallied outside the Capitol building, a select few spoke during a mid-day news conference inside.
- Marjory Stoneman Douglas students at Capitol to demand change on guns
- Students speaking inside Capitol; rallying outside
The teens split into several groups to talk with lawmakers and other state leaders about gun control, the legislative process, and mental health issues.
Some tearfully asked why civilians should be allowed to have weapons such as the one fired in the attack on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School one week ago.
"We’re what’s making the change. We’re going to talk to these politicians," said Alfonso Calderon, a 16-year-old junior. "We’re going to keep pushing until something is done because people are dying and this can’t happen anymore."
It has been one week since a shooter opened fire at the school, killing 17 people that included 14 students and three faculty members.
The gunman identified as Nikolas Cruz was apprehended and authorities have admitted to the shooting.
Dozens of students from the school are demanding that their voices be heard on gun control laws. Many of them arrived in Tallahassee on Tuesday and watched as the Florida House voted not to discuss a ban on assault weapons.
Parkland students will hold 70 meetings with lawmakers today including a two hour sit down with @FLGovScott. #ParklandStudents pic.twitter.com/bDqAKOherA— holly gregory (@hollygregory33) February 21, 2018
Samara Barrack, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, said Wednesday was the first time she had ever heard gunshots.
"I don't think anyone should be as scared as I was," she said.
The students in Tallahassee are hoping to turn their grief and fear into action.
"I feel it's different this time because we're all old enough now to see it has happened too many times to too many people," said student Kennedy Cobb.
Meanwhile, some students were inside the Capitol as soon as the doors opened Wednesday morning and went straight to the office of House Speaker Richard Corcoran.
Corcoran, a Republican, on Tuesday led the vote that defeated a Democratic motion to open debate on a bill to ban assault weapons. He is one of the gun lobby’s biggest champions at the Capitol and likely Republican candidate for governor.
The situation, though, was different across the Rotunda.
Students met with three of the top Republicans in the Senate. They have been crafting a package of gun control measures including a ban on bump stocks and raising Florida's minimum assault weapon purchasing age from 18 to 21.
At one point, Senate President Joe Negron, a Republican, teared up as he talked about his experience attending the funeral of one of the shooting victims.
About 100 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students arrived at a Tallahassee high school to extended applause late Tuesday after a 400-mile trip on three buses.
Florida teens showing love and support as #StonemanDouglasHS students get off the bus in Tallahassee. pic.twitter.com/VTeja2jmvJ— holly gregory (@hollygregory33) February 21, 2018
They told the 500 Leon High School students and parents waiting for them that they are fighting to protect all students.
“We’re what’s making the change. We’re going to talk to these politicians. We’re going to talk to them the day after that. We’re going to keep talking, we’re going to keep pushing until something is done because people are dying and this can’t happen anymore,” said Alfonso Calderon, a 16-year-old junior. "You guys are what we’re trying to protect."