South Florida Congresswoman Discusses Gun Safety Reform With Students, Officials & Faith Leaders

Mar 5, 2018

Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz discussed gun control at a roundtable Monday alongside students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

In the wake of the Feb. 14 mass shooting at the school that killed 17 people, Wasserman Shultz said state and federal legislators must act.

“We have to ban semi-automatic assault rifles. We have to ban high-capacity magazines. And we have to make sure that background checks are universal,” said Wasserman Schultz.

Stoneman Douglas junior Mei-Ling  Ho-Shing said her experience during the shooting has turned her and her classmates into activists for tighter gun control measures.

Broward County School Board member Dr. Rosalind Osgood hugs Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Mei-Ling Ho-Shing at a news conference in Sunrise on Mar. 5, 2018.
Credit Peter Haden / WLRN

“I had to hide behind desks and hold the hands of my classmates, shaking and praying, hearing the gunshots outside of my door,” said Ho-Shing. “This traumatic experience shouldn’t happen to anyone.”

The attendees expressed frustration at the Florida Senate's rejection of an assault weapons ban on Saturday. Lawmakers instead passed a measure Monday to arm some teachers.

“I should not have to arm my teachers in order to get funding for mental health. That’s blackmail,” said Broward County School Board Member Robin Bartleman.

Mayors from Pembroke Pines, Plantation, Aventura and Dania Beach joined the discussion, as well as faith and community leaders.

Jim Cummings is a Fort Lauderdale builder and a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association (NRA). He thinks the group is part of the problem by opposing all gun control measures. He says it’s doing a disservice to sportsman like him.

Fort Lauderdale builder Jim Cummings calls on voters to run out of office politicians who obstruct all gun control measures.
Credit Peter Haden / WLRN

“Sooner or later people have to step up and see if they’ve got a moral compass,” said Cummings. “And you have to do what’s right, not what’s just politically expedient and benefit your financial pocketbook in order to get votes.”

Cummings said people should vote out politicians that obstruct progress on gun control.

“The sooner we do that, the better off we’ll be.” Cummings said.

Correction: The original version of this story was updated to correct the name of student Mei-Ling Ho-Shing, who was initially identified as Meiling Hoshing.