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Thousands of people support students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in a rally for gun control at the Florida capitol (2/21/18).The Florida legislature is poised to pass some of the most sweeping gun control and mental health reforms in more than 20 years. The moves come as lawmakers face pressure from students affected by the Valentine's Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.On Valentine's Day, a 19-year-old in Parkland opened fire on his former classmates at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. He killed 14 students, three adults, and injured 14 others. There were warning signs, yet, all, including a tip to the FBI, were missed.That day, school safety measures in place, like school resource officers, restricted access and fencing--all failed.In the wake of the shooting, students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas have mobilized, calling on the legislature to take greater action to prevent school and mass shootings. Lawmakers, it seems, are finally listening.https://youtu.be/6PRPEfu7WPg

Tallahassee's 'March For Our Lives' Rally Draws Crowd of 2,500

A sign bearing the names of the 17 people killed during the Valentine's Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. (3/24/2018)
Lydell Rawls

Students, parents, and a wide assortment of gun-control advocates young and old marched and rallied in Tallahassee Saturday.  The local "March for Our Lives" event was one of more than 800 similar happenings in the United States.

The line of march extended from the Westcott Building courtyard at Florida State University to the steps of the Historic Florida Capitol. 

Speakers there included a number of students with a connection to Parkland's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and several political figures, including Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, Tallahassee State Representative Loranne Ausley and Leon County School Superintendent Rocky Hanna.  Also speaking was Farhan "Ronny" Ahmed, the former FSU student left paralyzed during the 2014 shooting at the school's Strozier Library.

Officials at the Florida Capitol estimated the turnout at Saturday's rally to be around 2,500 people.  An estimated 4,000  attended the Capitol rally one week after the Valentine's Day shooting in Parkland.

Hundreds of similar events occurred simultaneously in other state, and a number of other countries. The largest took place in Washington, D.C.

The rallies are in support of gun control efforts in the wake of school shootings across the U.S., the most recent in Florida involving the death of 17 people, 14 students and three adults, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. State lawmakers approved a bill increasing mental health funding, establishing protocols for removing guns from people deemed mentally unfit and increasing the purchase age and wait times. The National Rifle Association is suing over the increased purchase age provisions.


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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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