ORLANDO, Fla. (FOX 35 WOFL) - Today marks one year since 17 people were gunned down at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Victims, their friends, family, and lawmakers turned the tragedy into advocacy across the nation. Following the massacre, many students made their voices heard nationwide, helping to organize the 'March For Our Lives' movement.
The movement included hundreds of thousands of activists, who took to the streets to fight for stricter gun control. They also urged many college students to register to vote, building a new generation of voters. Hashtags such as #NeverAgain and #Enough were born out of their passion.
Students across the nation also banded together during 'National School Walkout' day. Thousands of students walked out of school for 17 minutes to honor the 17 people killed during the shooting. This aimed to push Congress to pass legislation to keep students safe from gun violence at schools, in the streets, at home, and at places of worship.
The political landscape began to change and at the state level, a surge of gun-control measures were enacted, including increasing the minimum age for purchasing a firearm and requiring waiting periods.
Political candidates were emboldened. Many of them confronted the issue in the midterm elections and were rewarded with victory over incumbents supported by the National Rifle Association. That helped the Democrats take back control of the House.
Peter Ambler, executive director of Giffords, the gun violence prevention group founded by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, said that these people "didn't get elected despite their advocacy for safer gun laws. They got elected because of their advocacy for safer gun laws. They made that a core part of their message to the American people."
Parkland "definitely marked a turning point," said Adam Winkler, a professor at the University of California Los Angeles School of Law and gun rights expert. "There is no doubt that the energy, the enthusiasm, the mobilization of these students was very influential. It did affect a lot of people across the country."
Even in 2019, Florida strives to keep students safe.On Wednesday, Governor Ron DeSantis advocated for more school safety. He called for a statewide grand jury investigation into whether or not schools have implemented safety laws enacted after the shooting. He also issued a series of executives orders so that the state never has such violence at a school ever again.
At the news conference, the Governor stood alongside Andrew Pollack, the father of Meadow Pollack. She was killed in the Parkland shooting. Florida Senator Rick Scott took Andrew to the State of the Union address as his guest. “I can’t rest until I get accountability for my daughter and there are still more things that need to be done,” Andrew Pollack said.
Florida lawmakers are also considering a school safety bill that would grant teachers the ability to carry guns on campus. Under this proposal, teachers would have to undergo background checks and training.
The accused Parkland shooter, Nikolas Cruz, is in prison awaiting trial. He could face the death penalty.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.