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Student Demitri Hoth, who survived the Florida mass shooting, explains why he and his classmates will not stop taking the fight for gun control to the doorsteps of politicians.

The entire event began with the fire alarm, which sounded at 2.20pm. This was when our school would forever be changed.

My friends recognised the gunshots, then I heard faculty and administrators say "get down" and "there's a shooter".

Frantically, we all ran.

It was in this moment when the code red was announced, I knew I only had seconds to get into a classroom or I would be locked out.

I was then trapped in a classroom for one-and-a-half hours, though it seemed like an eternity.

With such great tragedy, there comes great grief, and so many of my friends and I are still in disbelief.

We refuse to believe that the lives of our classmates, of our friends, were torn away senselessly for no reason other than pure evil.

Yet we are empowered, we want to incite change, and we implore our legislators to create policy and push legislation that can deter and prevent future mass shootings.

We grieve and mourn for the lives of our friends who we lost, yet we use their memory as catalysts for change and as the driving force behind our strength.

This monumental trip to Tallahassee, to the state Capitol, was planned so that we, the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, were able to use our voices effectively and place pressure on our legislators, so they know we mean business and we don't back down from a challenge.

Along with a group of my classmates, I spent my day attending meetings, lobbying, and advocating for changes in Florida law that will prevent this type of mass shooting from happening again.

Video:'I want to feel safe in my school'

We were extremely excited to be there and have the opportunity to speak to our representatives, yet there was an element of scepticism; we knew that the lawmakers would take what we would said with a grain of salt.

Throughout the day, everyone could feel the raw energy in the room, yet many people felt discouraged, worrying that no one would listen to them.

Like the family we are, we came together and reassured the people in our groups that our goal is to speak as loud as possible and make our voices heard. This seemed to lift the spirits in the room.

In response to the idea of arming teachers, I find it illogical that adding more guns would improve the situation.

It is not teachers' responsibilities to be armed on campus. Placing this element, guns, in a classroom would only hinder rather than facilitate the learning process.

Students at South Broward High School in Hollywood, Florida, protested gun violence and showed support for gun control measures on Friday, February 16. The protest came in the wake of the shooting at a Parkland high school that killed 17 people.  Jacquelyn Noval, a South Broward junior, said she and her classmates are tired of legislators not listening to them and not doing anything about the issues of gun violence.
Video:Florida students protest gun violence

My environmental science teacher Tammy Orilio says: "I am a firm believer that teachers should not be armed.

"Teachers are here for the education of our students as well as preparing them for the future and shouldn't be placed in a position where they have to choose between finding a safe place to hide and protect their students or going after a gunman and protecting the school."

This attitude is one that I find is particularly prevalent among all the teachers that were with us at the Capitol.

Personally, I don't believe it is feasible to expect a country that has been immersed in gun culture for over 240 years to abandon their "right to bear arms".

As a resident of the US, I find that guns pronounce fear rather than safety, and violence rather than peace.

Emma Gonzalez speaks at a rally for gun control
Video:Shooting survivor questions Trump's NRA funding

The Second Amendment was written 241 years ago when the United States did not have a centralised military and needed guns to keep and preserve a well-regulated militia.

This is far from the case in the 21st century.

Therefore, I believe that laws should be created to place enhanced restrictions on the type of firearms sold in the US, this would most definitively help prevent mass shootings such as the one I lived through.

Our ultimate goal is a three-tiered reform of gun laws, mental health, and school safety.

If this doesn't happen, our response will remain the same: we will not stop fighting, we will not stop advocating.

This issue is not about partisan politics, it is about morality, life and death.

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The life and death of children's lives.

We students will make it so that mass shootings #NeverAgain happen to a school in Florida, and ultimately to any school across the nation.

Original Article

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