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Parkland students push for gun violence awareness in Southwest Florida

Posted at 7:00 PM, Jun 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-25 19:00:30-04

Survivors of one of the deadliest school shootings in the country were in Southwest Florida Monday, pushing for an end to gun violence. Ten students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland - where 14 students and three adults were killed by a gunman in February - spread their message of demanding more gun control legislation at a press conference at the Best Western Inn in Naples. 

"This is about gun violence," said Stoneman Douglas student Delaney Tarr. "This is an epidemic across the country, but the core of this is our passion. It is our grief, it is our loss."

The students later took part in a voter registration drive at Silverspot Cinema in North Naples.

"No matter what party, no matter what policy, you need to be educated," Tarr said. "You need to care about it and you need to vote on it."

The students also took part in a panel discussion on gun violence at Florida Gulf Coast University, where student Republicans and Second Amendment supporters asked to talk to the Parkland students.

"We're kind of the same age as them, and we have differing views on how to handle gun violence situations," said Ryan Kennedy of FGCU College Republicans. 

"I think that's fostering the conversation," Kennedy added. "This is probably the first time that we can actually do that."

Tarr said she looked forward to a healthy debate with people who have different views on ways to combat gun violence.

"You're not always going to be surrounded by people that agree with you," she said. "The more you can find some common ground, the more you can accomplish."

The stops in Southwest Florida are part of a statewide and national bus tour called "March For Our Lives: Road To Change." The students were scheduled to make stops in Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte on Tuesday.