Florida Shooting Survivors Talk Gun Control, Marco Rubio Confrontation

"I was angry, because for the first time I was confronting what happened to us and looking him in the eye," student Cameron Kasky said of his heated exchange with the Florida senator during CNN's Town Hall.

Three student survivors from the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida sat down with Ellen DeGeneres on her show Friday to further discuss their March For Our Lives movement and continue to spread their advocacy for stricter gun control.

DeGeneres welcomed students Emma Gonzalez, Cameron Kasky and Jaclyn Corin, who have each made public appearances following the shooting, praising them for being “amazing” with their activism and efforts to raise their voices.

Throughout the discussion, the students recalled the tragic day of the shooting as well as CNN's Wednesday Town Hall, where Kasky famously grilled Senator Marco Rubio for accepting donations from the National Rifle Association.

“Well, I was angry because for the first time I was confronting what happened to us and looking him in the eye,” Kasky said of his confrontation with the senator. Though Rubio failed to give the answer he wanted, Kasky still thanked Rubio for agreeing to join them, for others failed to make an appearance. “We appreciate that Senator Rubio showed up, because not everybody did. We appreciate that Senator Rubio has started the baby steps to fixing this, because those are steps. That’s progress and that’s proof that we’re doing something here,” Kasky said.

Though publicly advocating for stricter gun control, the students reiterated that they’re not demanding that the second amendment be revoked. “I feel guilty that it took my community taking 17 bullets and it took us feeling that anguish for us to get involved but we’re here now. We just have to keep on going,” Kasky said, who also admitted that his family members are gun owners. “We want to regulate semi-automatic weapons and the accessories that make them fully automatic. … We want to stop those from getting to the hands of the public,” explained Gonzalez.

Despite receiving praise, the students have also faced criticism, with some dubbing them, “crisis actors.” Kasky addressed the conspiracy theory, joking, “If you’ve seen me act in school productions, you know I’m not somebody who deserves any money for acting.”

Kasky, Gonzalez, Corin and other students are in the process of organizing March for Our Lives, which will take place in Washington next month. The students aim to use their voices to honor other fallen students who were victims of school shootings.

“Those kids in previous shootings, like Sandy Hook, they were so young and many of them did not make it out to tell their tale. We are thankful enough to have been in a school that educated us, almost perfectly to handle the situation,” Gonzalez said.

“The thing that inspired us to create the march was people saying ‘You are all talking about gun control and this is not the time to talk about gun control. This is the time to grieve, a time to mourn, and we understand that,” Kasky added.. “We said, ‘Now might not be the time to talk about gun control. Here’s the time to talk about gun control: March 24.'”

Praising the “universal support” their march has received, Kasky explained that it’s “proof this isn’t red and blue” and “generation versus generation,” but the “97 percent of people who believe we need to take steps.” George and Amal Clooney, Jeffrey and Marilyn Katzenberg, Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw and Oprah Winfrey have been actively using their platform to support the March for Our Lives, each making their own $500,000 donations to support the demonstration. 

The students also gifted DeGeneres with a March For Our Lives shirt to wear in support of the anticipated event. The daytime host also shared that Shutterfly would be donating $50,000 to the benefit.

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