FORT MYERS, Fla. — As the nation debates gun control policy in light of recent mass shootings in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas, large crowds gathered in Southwest Florida for two events with opposing views: A ‘March For Our Lives’ rally and a gun show - both in Fort Myers.
People at the ‘March For Our Lives’ rally held up a sea of signs with different words and phrases - but united in the theme of advocating for stricter gun laws.
They believe more stringent laws could have prevented the mass shootings across the country in recent weeks.
Corriene Vega, a science teacher at Golden Gate High School in Naples, said the shooting in Uvalde hit too close to home.
“I remember where I was when Sandy Hook happened,” Vega said. “And I just can’t believe it’s happening again.”
That disbelief has turned into a strong desire for action by Vega and the many people that marched with her - all advocating for stricter gun control laws.
Happening at the same time less than ten miles away, a gun show at the Lee County Civics Center gave a chance to hear different solutions to a difficult and controversial problem.
Robert Geisler is the general manager for Florida Gun Shows, and has vastly different views than those at the ‘March For Our Lives’ rally about how firearms should be handled.
“If you want to ban one of these, well they’ll grab another,” Geisler said. “Bad guys don’t usually grab guns the right way. So any type of legislation that they’re talking isn’t going to stop those guys from getting guns.”
With the different views between these two groups, there is also a shared sense of worry and sorrow.
“I have a five-year-old and a nine-year-old. They go to a K-8 school, and that’s my number one concern,” Geisler said. “We can send money overseas to help other people out, but I think we need to take care of our children at school.”