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Florida reignites the gun control debate

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Florida reignites the gun control debate

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Emotions were running high as a crowd of thousands gathered some 40 kilometres from the scene of the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Seventeen people died in a rampage that shocked the country and reinitiated the gun control debate.

Among those protesting for changes to gun control laws in Fort Lauderdale were students from the school. NBC News’ Gabe Gutierrez asked some of them for their message to Washington.

Seventeen-year-old Alexis Gendron was hospitalized following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Visibly moved, she said:

"I want people to know that we need to better our security systems and we need to help prevent this from ever happening again. Because you see it on the news and you say 'it's not my kid, it's not my problem' well what if one day it is your kid? What if one day that is your kid who got shot? Then are you gonna finally care, then is something going to finally be done? Or we just going to be pushing it off so more and more kids die."

Gun show

Just three days after the shooting, some 80 kilometres south of Parkland, people queued to attend the Miami gun show.

AR-15s - the weapon of choice of the shooter – were among the most popular products on display.

The timing of the event drew heavy criticism, but no protesters appeared to be at the show.

Officials with Florida gun shows say they wish to acknowledge the city of Parkland in the aftermath of the shooting, saying in part that “there’s no disrespect or insensitivity intended by this long-planned gun show.”

They have asked all of their attendees to be aware that others may have concerns about the timing of the show and asked for all opinions to be give “respect and deference, particularly in these very troubled times.”

Since the rampage, many gun enthusiasts have defended gun control laws, saying that stricter legislation won’t prevent senseless violence.

Florida is described as one of the weakest states when it comes to firearms restrictions: the minimum age for buying a rifle is 18, but you must be 21 to buy a handgun.

In a tweet at the weekend, President Trump claimed the FBI has been spending too much time on the election meddling investigation and said it “missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter.”