A 16-year-old student who survived the Florida school shooting has a message for lawmakers and leaders: Your prayers and words "mean nothing"— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) February 15, 2018
"We need action," she added. "Action's what's gonna change what's happening." https://t.co/aOcamAeJE5 pic.twitter.com/Z8mywXInNq
A 16-year-old survivor of Wednesday's school shooting in Florida said that lawmakers’ words and prayers “mean nothing,” and called for “better gun laws.”
Lyliah Skinner made the comments to CNN on Thursday in a phone interview less than 24 hours after at least 17 students and faculty were killed and 14 injured in a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
“As our legislators and leaders, they shouldn’t be offering prayers and words because those mean nothing,” Skinner said. “We need action, because action’s what’s going to change what’s happening.”
The suspected gunman, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder. He reportedly legally purchased one year ago the AR-15 rifle he used in the shooting and is a former student at the high school. He was expelled for unknown disciplinary reasons.
Skinner raised the issue of teens being allowed to purchase guns, saying it’s something that they “shouldn’t be able to do."
“If kids aren’t even allowed to … purchase their first drink of alcohol, then how are we allowed to buy guns at the age of 18 or 19?” she said. “I feel like that’s something that we shouldn’t be able to do.”
“They need to create some better gun laws because obviously whatever we have going on, it’s not working,” she added, referring to Congress.
In the wake of the shooting, many lawmakers on the Democratic side of the aisle have called for renewed scrutiny of gun laws. Others, such as Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Defense & National Security — US tries to deter Russian invasion of Ukraine Senate eyes plan B amid defense bill standoff To counter China, the Senate must confirm US ambassadors MORE (R-Fla.), have said they want to know the facts of this specific case before advocating new legislation.
President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden heading to Kansas City to promote infrastructure package Trump calls Milley a 'f---ing idiot' over Afghanistan withdrawal First rally for far-right French candidate Zemmour prompts protests, violence MORE initially tweeted his "prayers and condolences" to the victims and families, and later suggested that the shooting was a result of mental illness.
In an address at the White House on Thursday, the president said he planned to visit the high school, but did not mention any new gun control legislation.
Other students from the high school, as well as parents, have appeared on news networks in the day since the shooting to plead with lawmakers for gun control legislation.
"President Trump, you say what can you do,” said the mother of one of the shooting victims on CNN. “You can stop the guns from getting into these children's hands.”