LGBT advocacy groups on Feb. 15 condemned the shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, that left at least 17 people dead and more than a dozen others injured.
The Pride Center in Wilton Manors, which is located roughly 20 miles southeast of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, on Wednesday said in a Facebook post that “at least 17 families and countless loved ones face unspeakable tragedy tonight in Broward County.”
“Our hearts break for the students, teachers, administrators and families at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School,” reads the post. “May they find comfort and strength in the face of untold loss.”
Equality Florida, a statewide LGBT advocacy group, and the Human Rights Campaign are among the other groups that echoed the Pride Center.
“Equality Florida joins our fellow Floridians and the nation in grieving the 17 lives taken and those injured in yet another school mass shooting,” said Equality Florida in a statement.
A 19-year-old man who was expelled from the high school has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder. Authorities say the alleged gunman used an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle that he legally bought in the shooting.
President Trump is expected to visit the high school in the coming days.
The shooting took place less than four months after a gunman killed 26 people and injured 20 others inside a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
A gunman on Oct. 1 killed 58 people and injured more than 500 others when he opened fire during a country music festival in Las Vegas. A gunman killed 49 people inside the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla., on June 12, 2016.
The Pulse nightclub massacre was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history until the incident in Las Vegas.
The mass shooting has once again renewed calls for gun control.
“We remain as deeply committed today as we were two years ago, in the aftermath of the massacre at Pulse, to the fight for common sense gun legislation,” said Equality Florida in its statement.
“We are not helpless,” it added. “We do not have to be hostages to special interests who believe that weapons of war should be available to everyone, anywhere, all the time. We can and we must stop this carnage with laws that are proven to make a difference. This violence will only stop when we decide to stand up to a handful of voices with undue influence. The time has come to make common sense gun safety legislation a litmus test for anyone asking for our votes.”
The Pride Fund to End Gun Violence, a political action committee that formed after the Pulse nightclub massacre, pointed out that the FEb. 15 shooting is the 18th such incident at a school this year.
“We need elected leaders who are committed to public safety,” said the Pride Fund to End Gun Violence on its Twitter page. “If they are not up to the task, it is up to us to vote them out of office. Our children are counting on us to keep them safe from harm.”
This article originally appeared in the Washington Blade and is made available in partnership with the National LGBT Media Association.
On March 24, the children and families of those affected by the recent Florida shooting are planning to march on Washington D.C. to protest for more gun control. March for Our Lives is the group that is organizing this event and is being led by students across the U.S. The organization is also providing a means for rallys to be held around the U.S. for those who won’t be able to go to the D.C. protest.
“March For Our Lives is created by, inspired by, and led by students across the country who will no longer risk their lives waiting for someone else to take action to stop the epidemic of mass school shootings that has become all too familiar,” The page’s mission statement said. “In the tragic wake of the seventeen lives brutally cut short in Florida, politicians are telling us that now is not the time to talk about guns. March For Our Lives believes the time is now.”
The website is now accepting donations to sponsor marches nationally and selling T-Shirts to collect proceeds for its efforts. More information about the organization and upcoming marches can be found online at marchforourlives.com. They can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.