HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — Monday afternoon, two days after the March for Our Lives movement, Senator Bill Nelson met with Tampa Bay students.
The roundtable discussion was held at the Hillsborough County Public School offices. The meeting lasted more than an hour. Students were part of the conversation as well as members of the school district. Representative Kathy Castor was part of the discussion as well.
Brooke Shapiro, a student, was encouraged there was a meeting immediately after March for Our Lives.
“That just proves to me this conversation is going to be going on for a really long time until we can actually say ‘Never Again’ and mean it,” Shapiro said.
N’Dia Webb, a student, attended the meeting. She went to Washington D.C. this weekend with other students from March for Our Lives. The trip inspired her.
“I feel like this was actually a realization we can actually get this done. We have enough support than there is hate for this,” Webb said.
During the meeting, Senator Nelson told the participants two-thirds of people support a ban on assault rifles and magazines. He said there needs to be universal background checks. He told the students their hope gave him hope and their determination gave him determination.
“The problem is not going to be solved until you can get the assault rifles off the street with these large capacity bullets…...magazines. That just allows the slaughter to continue on,” Senator Nelson said.
Former gun shop owner, Paul Schiller, disagreed. Schiller was not part of the discussion. ABC Action News reached out to him to get his thoughts on the issue. He said this is not a gun issue, but a school control issue.
“We need to have tighter security in our schools and implement things that will make a huge difference in our schools. Again, banning a certain firearm is not going to make schools or anybody safe,” Schiller said.
Some students asked lawmakers today how to bring people together on the issue. The conversations moved forward after February 14. Authorities said on that day a gunman killed 17 people at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. Schiller does not believe you can unify both sides of the debate.
“I don’t think so. I think the people like it the way it is… the 2nd Amendment people like it the way that it is. So I think we’re stuck in our ways and that’s where we’re going to continue to stay right here,” Schiller said.