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Pulse, Parkland survivors call for stronger gun laws

Rally on Orlando City Hall steps comes ahead of Pulse shooting's 2-year mark

ORLANDO, Fla. – More than 200 people gathered at Orlando City Hall on Monday night, calling for changes in Florida's gun laws.

The rally, held by the groups Gays Against Guns, Equality Florida and others, came one day before the city marks two years since the Pulse Nightclub shooting.

"Disarm the hate. Let’s all get together and … get past our differences and get this thing done," said Laura Sheehy, whose daughter, Aly, survived the Parkland school shooting in February.

Aly spoke at the rally.

"To the politicians, I hope you hear our screams now, because they’re only growing louder," she told the crowd.

She was joined by other Pulse Nightclub shooting survivors and victims' families.

"My beloved son and 48 other sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, lovers and friends were ripped from our lives for what is becoming so commonplace, we’re beginning to except it as normal," said Maria Wright, whose son Jared was killed June 12, 2016.

Pulse survivor Brandon Wolf, who helped organize the rally, said the government has not done enough to protect people after both the Pulse shooting and the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

Gov. Rick Scott's office told News 6 on Monday night that much has been done to protect Florida residents since the Pulse attack.

Spokeswoman Maria Gambineri said the governor proposed and signed $5.8 million in the state budget for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to add 46 counter-terrorism agents to terrorism task forces. 

She said in March he signed comprehensive legislation that keeps firearms out of the hands of mentally ill and dangerous individuals.

“The horrific terror attack at Pulse was heartbreaking, and Floridians will never forget the 49 innocent lives senselessly taken," Gambineri said. "Following the attack at Pulse, Scott met with survivors and victims’ families and saw Floridians show their resilience, strength and love for each other. Scott will always honor the memory of the victims and the loss suffered by their families.”​

Wolf urged the crowd to use a different kind of weapon in their fight: a ballot.

"I am ready to vote," he said. "I’m ready to march. I am ready to speak and rally. I am ready to honor my best friends with action."

A rainbow could be seen just before sundown Monday night, making an appearance almost two years exactly since the massacre.


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