The Parkland community takes center stage at the March for Our Lives rally in Washington

  • Members of the Parkland, Florida, community took to Washington, DC, on Saturday for the “March for Our Lives” protest, honouring their friends and loved ones who were fatally shot last month at Marjorty Stoneman Douglas High School.
  • Parkland students have been at the center of the gun debate in the US.
  • Some of the student survivors who have been pushing for change have already helped pass school safety legislation in Congress.

Friends and families of the victims of last month’s shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, joined thousands of other protestors on Saturday in a call for increased gun control.

On February 14, a gunman shot and killed 17 people at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

The massacre left the local community reeling, but it also inspired students and other members from the community to push for change on the national stage.

Sam Hoffner, whose two daughters will go to Stoneman Douglas, was among the many Parkland residents to travel to Washington, DC to join the “March for Our Lives” protest.

“As a rsponsible gun owner, I’d like to see common sense gun reform. It needs to be more difficult to get these firearms. They should require ongoing certification and training,” Hoffner told Business Insider. “Routine health examinations. We need reform of HIPAA to share information with law enforcement databases. We need campaign finance reform so that our legislators get out of the pockets of these special interests groups.

“It’s time for change. Enough is enough. Enough lives have been lost,” Hoffner added.

HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, is a 1996 law that protects people’s personal medical information.

In 2016, the law was slightly modified to allow certain agencies to disclose the records of individuals with mental illnesses to the National Instant Criminal Background Check Systems (NICS) to prevent them from acquiring guns.

Alyssa Alhadef, a victim of the Parkland shooting, babysat Sarina and Danielle Hoffner. So the two sisters travelled to DC to march in her honour.

Saturday’s march was organised by students who survived the shooting at Stoneman Douglas, including outspoken gun control activists Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg, and Cameron Kasky, among others.

Other students, like Kyle Kashuv and Patrick Petty – both of whom are strong supporters of the Second Amendment – have taken a different approach, meeting directly with lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

They have already gotten results, too.

Earlier this week, Congress included in its latest spending package the STOP School Violence Act, which provides funding to help schools better identify threats and know when to intervene if a student poses a violent risk.