On Parkland anniversary, Biden calls for tougher gun laws – Orange County Register

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By BOBBY CAINA CALVAN

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Sorrow reverberated throughout the nation Sunday as Individuals, together with President Joe Biden, joined a Florida group in remembering the 17 lives misplaced three years in the past within the Parkland faculty taking pictures bloodbath.

“In seconds, the lives of dozens of households, and the lifetime of an American group, have been modified eternally,” Biden mentioned in an announcement launched Sunday.

The president used the event to name on Congress to strengthen gun laws, together with requiring background checks on all gun gross sales and banning assault weapons.

There was no time to attend, the president mentioned. “We owe it to all these we’ve misplaced and to all these left behind to grieve to make a change. The time to behave is now.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered flags be lowered to half employees from dawn to sundown throughout the state to honor those that perished when a former scholar of Marjory Stoneman Douglas Excessive College opened hearth on campus with an AR-15 rifle on Valentines Day in 2018.

When the gunfire ended, 14 college students and three employees members have been lifeless, and 17 others have been wounded. The suspect, Nikolas Cruz, remains to be awaiting trial.

In his proclamation for a day of remembrance, DeSantis requested fellow Floridians to pause for a second of silence at 3 p.m. Sunday.

“The Parkland group is resilient within the wake of tragedy, reminding us simply how sturdy and united Floridians will be within the face of such devastating loss,” the governor mentioned in his proclamation.

The Republican governor additionally famous a few of the faculty security measures enacted for the reason that tragedy three years in the past, together with cash to put in panic alert programs at faculties throughout the state and to strengthen applications meant to forestall violence earlier than they happen.

The panic alert measure was dubbed “Alyssa’s Legislation,” in honor of 14-year-old Alyssa Alhadeff, one of many college students killed three years in the past.

Parkland mother and father have been divided over how lawmakers ought to reply.

Ryan Petty, whose daughter Alaina was 14 when she was killed within the taking pictures, addressed the president in a tweet Sunday.

“Mr. President, thanks for remembering the family members taken from us 3 years in the past,” he wrote. “Alaina cherished this nation and the freedoms it ensures. Frequent sense tells us that honoring her life doesn’t require infringement on the rights of law-abiding residents.”

In an interview Sunday, Petty mentioned the president’s proposals received’t stop extra tragedies.

“It’s unsuitable to deal with the weapon,” mentioned Petty, who’s now a member of the state faculty board. “For individuals who perceive what occurred that day, there have been errors. This was probably the most preventable faculty taking pictures within the historical past of our nation. The warning indicators have been there. It was clear the killer had intentions to assault the varsity.”

Petty remembered his daughter as a pal to everybody, and recounted how essential group service was to her.

“For these of us who misplaced family members that day, it’s just about like another day. We miss them. There’s nothing we are able to do to carry them again. The one factor we are able to do is transfer ahead and attempt to honor their reminiscences and ensure this doesn’t occur to another households,” he mentioned.

However critics of the governor and Republican-controlled Legislature say weapons are too simply accessible and say extra must be achieved to maintain assault-style weapons away from probably unhealthy actors.

“The passage of time has achieved little to heal the heartbreak we felt upon listening to the stunning information three years in the past at present, nor dulled our sense of concern on the lack of consequential legislative motion from lawmakers since that horrible morning — laws that may stop one other Parkland from ever taking place once more,” mentioned Manny Diaz, the chair of the Florida Democratic Get together.

Through the years, lethal violence focusing on faculties has shaken the nation — together with the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007 that claimed 32 lives and the Sandy Hook Elementary College bloodbath in 2012. Even earlier than the Parkland tragedy, there was already loads of anguish in Florida over gun violence. Lower than two years earlier than, one other gunman shot up the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, killing 49 folks.

Not one of the lethal occasions produced complete gun laws. Mass shootings have galvanized gun management advocates, who’ve been met with resistance from Republican lawmakers and their 2nd Modification allies. It stays to be seen what will probably be achieved on the federal stage, regardless of Democratic management of the White Home and each chambers of Congress.

“This Administration is not going to wait for the following mass taking pictures to heed that decision. We’ll take motion to finish our epidemic of gun violence and make our faculties and communities safer,” the president mentioned his assertion Sunday.

Along with background checks and an assault-weapons ban, Biden is asking on Congress to outlaw high-capacity magazines and make gun producers liable for the function their merchandise play in violence.

“For 3 years now, the Parkland households have spent birthdays and holidays with out their family members,” Biden mentioned.

“At present, as we mourn with the Parkland group, we mourn for all who’ve misplaced family members to gun violence,” he mentioned.

“Over these three years, the Parkland households have taught all of us one thing profound,” the president continued. “Repeatedly, they’ve confirmed us how we are able to flip our grief into function – to march, manage, and construct a powerful, inclusive, and sturdy motion for change.”