A 19-year-old male shot and killed 17 students at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida Wednesday. The victims included 14 students and three faculty members, ranging in age from 14 years old to 49 years old.
In the wake of the tragedy, legislators at both state and national levels have been scrambling to come up with an appropriate response and reaction.
North Carolina’s state legislators had varying reactions to the shooting.
N.C. Rep. Graig Meyer, D-Orange, responded by vowing to never receive political donations from the National Rifle Association or gun manufacturers. Meyer also called for major mental health legislation, which he argued was long overdue and should be completely bipartisan.
N.C. Rep. Larry Pittman, R-Cabarrus, took a different stance. Pittman argued for training and subsequent arming of school personnel on campus, The News & Observer reported Feb. 15.
“We have to get over this useless hysteria about guns and allow school personnel to have a chance to defend their lives and those of their students,” said in a meeting of the Joint Legislative Emergency Management Oversight Committee, according to The News & Observer.
North Carolina’s national legislators have made less politically charged comments in response to the shooting.
U.S. Rep. Ted Budd, R-N.C., expressed deep sorrow and extended his prayers with the people of Parkland, mentioning his own experience as a parent as a demonstration of the horror of losing children to such a tragedy.
Similarly, U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., extended his thoughts and prayers to the victims, families, first responders and community in a tweet Wednesday afternoon.
Tillis, along with U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., have been criticized for being among the top recipients of funding from the National Rifle Association.
N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper called for all flags to be flown at half-mast and tweeted his devastation for the children, parents, educators and everyone else involved in the shooting.
With this shooting, The New York Times reported there have now been at least 239 school shootings nationwide and 138 killings in said shootings since the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, which took the lives of 20 first-graders and six adults.
The UNC Young Democrats, Campus Y and Carolina Young Democratic Socialists will hold a rally against gun violence Thursday, Feb. 22 in response to the Parkland shootings. More information can be found here.