1. ITV Report

Florida massacre survivors rally in state capital to demand US gun control change

  • Video report by ITV News Washington Correspondent Robert Moore

Survivors of the Florida high school massacre have marched to the state capital calling for stricter gun controls.

Many activists descended on the statehouse where they demanded a meeting with legislators.

It comes as students across a number of Florida schools staged a walk-out on Wednesday in a show of solidarity.

Campaigners have also announced a mass rally for March 24, an event which some celebrities have pledged hundreds of thousands of dollars to.

George Clooney and Oprah Winfrey both confirmed they would donate $500,000 to the March For Our Lives fund.

Students are continuing to demand tighter gun restrictions following last week's shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in which 17 people were killed.

Student Lewis Mizen, originally from Coventry, hid in a cupboard with 20 other students for two hours during the shooting.

He said that the march was non-partisan and focusing on the fight for students' rights to be safe at school.

He said: "I don't think a lot of us feel we are fighting the biggest issue in America. We don't feel like we're tackling that.

"We feel like we're fighting for our right to be able to go to school and make sure we're able to get home to our parents at the end of the day. I want to know that if I wake up late and I run out and I don't get to tell my parents that I love them, that I'm going to be able to come home at the end of the day and still tell them that.

"That has to be worth something and it has to be worth more than any political divide could be."

There were walk-outs across Florida schools on Wednesday. Credit: AP

Many of the students made their way to Tallahassee, Florida’s state capital, to voice their demands.

In response, Donald Trump met survivors of the attack, as well as those from the Sandy Hook and Columbine shootings in a "listening" session.

The president and Vice President Mike Pence met victims' parents and survivors for "a conversation on how to improve school safety", the White House said.

During the meeting, Parkland student Samuel Zeif said he's heard of 15-year-olds buying rifles.

Cary Gruber, father of a Parkland student, implored Trump: "It's not left and right," adding: "if you can't buy a beer, shouldn't be able to buy a gun."

Clamour for tighter gun control laws is growing across the US in the wake of the attack.

The President held a listening session with students and parents affected by shootings in the last two decades. Credit: AP

A strong supporter of gun rights, Mr Trump has indicated in recent days that he is willing to consider ideas not in keeping with National Rifle Association orthodoxy, including age restrictions for buying assault-type weapons.

On Tuesday, Mr Trump directed the Justice Department to move to ban devices like the rapid-fire bump stocks used in last year's Las Vegas massacre.

The White House has also said Mr Trump was looking at a bill that would strengthen federal gun background checks.

On Monday, protesters lay down in front of the White House and chanted "shame on you".

Donald Trump has promised a 'listening session' for survivors. Credit: AP

Meanwhile celebrity support for the March For Our Lives fund is growing.

Actor Clooney said he and his wife Amal would make their £357,000 donation in the names of their eight-month-old twins.

"Amal and I are so inspired by the courage and eloquence of these young men and women from Stoneman Douglas High School," he said.

"Our family will be there on March 24 to stand side by side with this incredible generation of young people from all over the country, and in the name of our children Ella and Alexander, we're donating 500,000 dollars to help pay for this ground-breaking event."

Winfrey tweeted that she "couldn't agree more" with Clooney, adding that she would also donate the equivalent of £357,000.

She said: "These inspiring young people remind me of the Freedom Riders of the 60s who also said we've had ENOUGH and our voices will be heard."

The White House said of the listening session that President Trump "looks forward to an open discussion on how we can keep our students safe".

Nikolas Cruz, the Florida shooting suspect. Credit: AP