Thursday 17 January 2019

Three Billboards protest for gun control after Florida school shooting

The protest aimed to put pressure on Florida’s Republican senator after 17 were murdered in a high school shooting.

The protest in Miami (Jesus Aranguren/Avaaz)
The protest in Miami (Jesus Aranguren/Avaaz)

By Sam Blewett, Press Association Los Angeles Correspondent

Campaigners took inspiration from Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri to call for gun control in the wake of a school shooting that killed 17.

The placards were driven around Miami on Friday to put pressure on its Republican senator after the high school massacre this week in Florida.

The signs – reading “Slaughtered in school”, “And still no gun control?”, “How come, Marco Rubio?” – echoed the Oscar-nominated film where a mother challenges authorities over justice for her daughter who was raped and murdered.

The protest was organised by activist group Avaaz, which highlighted the campaign donations Mr Rubio has accepted from gun advocates the National Rifle Association (NRA).

Emma Ruby-Sachs, Avaaz’s deputy director, said: “The senator has taken fire across the country for his toothless response to the shooting, calling it ‘inexplicable’. We call that inexcusable.

“Florida has notoriously lax gun laws and Rubio, who is supported by the NRA, has never attempted to reform them.

“There have been 334 mass shootings in last 12 months, and yet no new federal gun laws since 1994.”

A similar protest was held in London the day before over the Grenfell Tower fire

The protest followed a similar one in London on Thursday which highlighted the “lack of progress” made since the Grenfell Tower fire that killed 71 people in June.

Meanwhile, Mr Rubio criticised the FBI after it admitted failing to investigate a tip-off last month that the shooting suspect, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, had a “desire to kill” and had access to guns.

The teenager has been charged with killing 17 people in the shooting spree at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Wednesday.

Nikolas Cruz, left, appearing in court

Peers described Cruz as a troubled individual and said there had been warning signs, while police have not offered a motive but said he was previously expelled from the school.

Reports, citing law enforcement officials, said Cruz legally purchased the the assault rifle in Florida in February last year having passed a background check.

The massacre has once again sparked a debate over availability of firearms in the US, with the country already having seen eight school shootings that have caused death or injury this year.

Press Association

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