In partnership with the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence and March For Our Lives, students from across Florida arrived at the state Capitol to voice their opposition to Senate Bill 7030 and House Bill 7093 on Wednesday. The proposed legislation seeks to allow teachers to carry guns in the classroom if they meet certain criteria.
It was announced that House debate on HB 7093 had been temporarily postponed just prior to students’ arrival.
Andy Pelosi, co-chair of the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence stated, “Today is an important day for the safety of Florida’s K-12 public schoolchildren, as echoed by the strong showing of students from around the state from March for Our Lives and other advocates demanding that the Legislature and Gov. DeSantis place necessary funds for prevention rather than outsource security to our classroom teachers.”
Upon arrival in Tallahassee, students silently protested in the Capitol rotunda, holding pictures of loved ones lost to gun violence. Students also met with state legislators and held a press conference on the steps of the Historic Capitol, where they and Coalition partners called for advocates to continue applying pressure on state officials.
“Although HB 7093 was postponed today, we absolutely must continue to call and write our lawmakers,” said Patricia Brigham, president of the League of Women Voters of Florida. Brigham continued, “We need to send a message to Tallahassee that even when we are not here, they need to listen to us.”
Trevor Wild, UCF student and founder of March For Our Lives Orlando, offered the following, “It’s disappointing that we came to fight for school safety and our elected officials decided to reschedule the vote. We came here to be heard, not to be shut out of the process. We’ll be back.”
The Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence was founded after the Pulse shooting in 2016 to promote smart gun legislation. It has grown to include more than 100 local, state, and national organizations and includes such diverse groups as the League of Women Voters of Florida, the Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus, Florida PTA, Equality Florida, the Interfaith Council of Central Florida, National Council of Jewish Women, and the Southern Poverty Law Center.