On February 14, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz fired a rifle at students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 people.

Just one month after the tragedy, nearly one million students and teachers from across the United States left their classrooms for 17 minutes to remember the victims and to protest against gun violence in the country.

The message of the protest

The mobilization drew the attention of the international press with its strong message: greater restriction and control of arms to prevent further tragedies; and although the demonstration was massive, not all students wanted to participate, especially those in rural areas and the most conservative in the country, showing that there is a large gap between those who want more control and those who oppose it.

Empower, the student movement that organized the mobilization, explains on its website that they are demonstrating for the U.S. Congress to take meaningful steps to protect all students and for legislators to pass reform of gun laws.

They also call for universal background checks for all people who want to buy a gun and require legislators to pass a law restricting violence that allows the courts to temporarily disarm people who show signs of violent behavior.

Even many celebrities, such as Anne Hathaway, also joined the protest through social networks with the hashtag #enoughisenough.

The United States and arms regulation

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the right of the American people to own and bear arms, making it one of the countries with the least restrictions on the acquisition and carrying of arms, and the country with the most weapons in private hands in the world.

According to a study conducted by the University of Alabama in 2017, the United States has 270 million weapons and has had 90 mass shooters between 1966 and 2012 (almost a third of all mass shootings worldwide), showing that the total absence of firearms control in the country is a problem that has lashed out for a very long time and that innocent lives are taken year after year.

Younger minds know that they need not be afraid of losing their lives when attending classes or a concert, which is why they want to be heard to demand a change in gun control laws and be able to live a life with less violence.