Among the group were six students who survived the recent shooting at a high school in Florida, as well as a father who lost his daughter. Parents of children who were killed at the shootings in Columbine, Colo., in 1999, and Sandy Hook, Conn., in 2012, were also in attendance.
Sam Zeif, a student who attends Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, made an impassioned plea for change.
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“I turned 18 the day after,” Zeif said. “Woke up to the news that my friend was gone and I don’t understand why I could go into a store and buy a weapon of war – an A.R.
“I was reading today that a person, 20 years old, walked into a store today and bought an A.R. 15 with an expired driver’s ID. How is it that easy? How have we not stopped it after Columbine? After Sandy Hook?”
Zeif says that his best friend was killed in the shooting and that his brother was a floor above while the shooting was taking place.
He shared the text conversation he had with his brother as the incident was taking place on Twitter.
“I didn’t plan for them to go viral,” Zeif said. I just wanted to share with the world ‘cause no brothers or sisters or family members or anyone should ever have to share those texts with anyone.”
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Zeif said that he is unsure if he will be able to return to Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School again.
“I don’t know how I am ever going to set foot in that place again or go to a public park again after school,” he said. “Me and my friends, we get scared when a car drives by anywhere.”
He finished his speech with a plea for change.
“Let’s never let this happen again please, please,” Zeif said.
Andrew Pollack, the father of Florida school shooting victim Meadow Pollack also made an impactful plea for change.
He shouted: “It should have been one school shooting and we should have fixed it. And I’m pissed — because my daughter — I’m not going to see again.”