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Thousands Join Florida Shooting Survivors at Gun Control Rally in New Jersey

What to Know

  • Thousands gathered at a synagogue in Livingston to call for gun legislation following the school shooting in Florida earlier this month
  • The Florida shooting on Feb. 14 killed 17 people and reignited the debates over gun control and school safety
  • Survivors of the massacre like David Hogg, who spoke at the New Jersey event, have provided much of the momentum for a #NeverAgain movement

Three survivors of the school shooting in Florida joined a rally in New Jersey on Sunday with Sen. Bob Menendez to push for "common sense gun legislation." 

David Hogg, Matthew Deitsch and Ryan Deitsch survived the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Feb. 14 that killed 17 people. Hogg and other students have emerged as leading voices in the gun control debate. 

"I'm here. I'm alive. We have to change something," Hogg said after taking the stage. "If I was going to die there and our souls were left behind on that classroom floor, hopefully our voices [...] would carry on to the halls of Congress and echo across the nation." 

An estimated 2,500 people packed the Temple B'nai Abraham in Livingston for the event. Organizers had to change venues because they worried the original venue would be too small, and even the synagogue was at max-capacity.

The survivors have a connection to Livingston through Parkland student Harris Jaffe, who was born in the town outside Newark.

Menendez, a Democrat, has been a vocal supporter of stricter gun control laws and has sponsored legislation to ban high-capacity magazines. 

"While I've always aspired to get a good grade, I am very proud of my lifetime F from the NRA," the senator said. "How high must the body count climb before Congress puts the safety of our families ahead of the gun industry profits?" 

Hogg and other survivors are set to speak at other rallies around the country and are also spreading the word about a student walkout they've planned for March 14, as well as a sizable rally in Washington, D.C. called "March For Our Lives" set for March 24.

In Florida on Sunday, students, parents and faculty returned to the high school for the first time since the Valentine's Day massacre.  

The shooting has reignited a national debate over gun laws. President Donald Trump has discussed banning "bump stocks" and curbing young people's access to guns. Others have advocated arming teachers.  

The governors of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Rhode Island have announced the formation of the "States for Gun Safety" coalition, a new multi-state partnership to combat gun violence.

The governors said states will be able to tackle issues related gun violence – including stopping the flow of black market guns, sharing information among law enforcement on individuals who may pose a violent threat, and working on parallel tracks on gun safety legislation — while they wait for Congress and the President to take federal action.

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