CNN denies giving Florida shooting survivor scripted questions for its town hall on guns

WPLG-TVColton Haab, 17, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
  • A student who survived last week’s school shooting said CNN gave him scripted questions ahead of a town hall event on Wednesday.
  • Colton Haab, a junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who shielded students during the shooting, said he had prepared a speech and questions for the town hall but “it ended up being all scripted.”
  • CNN has denied Haab’s claim.

A student who survived the Florida shooting has accused CNN of giving him scripted questions during a CNN town hall event on Wednesday night.

Colton Haab, a 17-year-old junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, told local WPLG news that he had prepared a question suggesting schools use veterans as armed security guards, but CNN gave him a different question.

“I expected to be able to ask my questions and give my opinion on my questions,” Haab said. “CNN had originally asked me to write a speech and questions, and it ended up being all scripted.”

Haab, a member of the Junior ROTC program who was hailed as a hero for shielding fellow students during the shooting, decided to skip CNN’s event.

“I don’t think that it’s going get anything accomplished,” he told WPLG. “It’s not gonna ask the true questions that all the parents and teachers and students have.”

The town hall featured heated debate about gun control with Stoneman Douglas students, teachers, parents, school administrators, elected officials, the NRA, and other members of the Parkland, Florida, community.

In a statement, CNN denied Haab’s claim.

“There is absolutely no truth to this,” the statement read. “CNN did not provide or script questions for anyone in last night’s town hall, nor have we ever. Colton’s father withdrew his name from participation before the forum began, which we regretted but respected. We welcome Colton to join us on CNN today to discuss his views on school safety.”

On February 14, a gunman wielding an AR-15 shot and killed 17 people and injured over a dozen more at Stoneman Douglas High School.

The mass shooting has sparked a national conversation about changing US gun laws to prevent mass shootings. Students from Stoneman Douglas have been particularly active in pressuring lawmakers to enact several measures they say will better protect schools, including a ban on assault rifles and the implementation of universal background checks for prospective gun owners.

So far, their efforts have not resulted in legislative change. On Tuesday, the Florida state legislature voted 71-36 to reject a measure to consider banning the sale of assault weapons. Many of the students were at the state Capitol to witness the vote.

But the students are not giving up yet. They say they’re determined to continue speaking out until lawmakers meet at least some of their demands.

On March 24, they will hold a nationwide “March for Our Lives” protest to get politicians to take action on gun violence. Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney and her husband and actor George pledged $US500,000 to support the demonstration, and billionaire media mogul Oprah Winfrey matched their donation.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.