Students protest over guns

WASHINGTON – Students galvanized by the deadly mass shooting at a Florida high school confronted lawmakers on Wednesday with demands to restrict sales of assault rifles, while President Donald Trump suggested arming teachers as a way to stop more US rampages.

The unprecedented lobbying effort by groups of teenagers and parents at the White House and at the Florida statehouse in Tallahassee played out as fellow students staged classroom walkouts and rallies in cities across the country.

Mr Trump held an emotional, hour-long meeting with students who survived the Florida shooting and a parent whose child did not. He said arming teachers and other school staff could help prevent future mass shootings, voicing support for an idea backed by the powerful National Rifle Association gun lobby.

The Republican president, who has championed gun rights and was endorsed by the NRA during the 2016 campaign, said he would move quickly to tighten background checks for gun buyers and would consider raising the age for buying certain types of guns.

The attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 students and educators were killed on Feb. 14 in the second-deadliest shooting at a US public school, has revived the long-running US debate over gun rights.

The assault was carried out by 19-year-old former Stoneman Douglas student Nikolas Cruz, who purchased an AR-15-style assault weapon nearly a year ago.

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