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Pulse Survivors Join Students at Gun Control Rally

Brandon Wolf
Pulse survivor Brandon Wolf at the rally

Survivors of the nightclub shooting are joining students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to call for change.

At a rally demanding better gun control, survivors of the Pulse shooting stood alongside students who lived through the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

Nearly two years after the attack on the Orlando gay bar, those who lived through one of the worst mass shootings in Florida history say they have been inspired back into action by the young activists.

"They fought through grief, they fought through anger, they fought through nightmares to come out and challenge adults to show up," Pulse survivor Brandon Wolf told Orlando TV station WFTV at the rally this past week in Tallahassee, Florida's capital.

Florida state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, an out lawmaker who keeps reminders of the 49 killed in the shooting at the Orlando bar in 2016, said it felt tragic seeing a second major shooting in the state and to now see the survivors from Pulse and Parkland standing together. "It was incredibly surreal to see those who survived the horrific shooting at Pulse now consoling young MSD students," he told The Advocate. "Together, they understand the power in their pain. They are the collective voices of those whose lives were taken by gun violence. Their words matter, and they are ready to use them to effect change."

Parkland students have set themselves apart as faces for a demand for better gun control measures. "This is not about getting rid of all guns," wrote Emma Gonzalez, a survivor of the shooting, on Twitter. "It's about making it harder to obtain them and impossible to obtain those semi-automatic weapons of war in a civilian setting." Gonzalez is president of the Gay-Straight Alliance based at the high school.

Republican lawmakers in Florida recently shot down an assault weapons ban sponsored by Guillermo Smith. Now Republican Gov. Rick Scott has proposed increasing mental health screening and raising the age of purchase for firearms in Florida to 21. "It's grossly inadequate and completely ignores what students, parents and Floridians have been demanding since Parkland," said Guillermo Smith. "We need to ban assault weapons now."

Watch video of the rally below.

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