(Update: Stoneman Douglas High School student Emma Gonzalez told CNN on Monday morning that she wants the NRA to "disband, dismantle...don't you dare come back here." She said gun control is the students' main focus. Fellow student David Hogg said politicians have to stop taking money from those NRA "child murderers." The students made it clear that the upcoming "March For Our Lives" is a direct attack on the NRA. But, they insist, this is not political. See below.)
(CNSNews.com) - Making the rounds of the Sunday talk shows, five students, understandably devastated and grieving following the massacre at their high school, announced a march on Washington next month to demand action from adults who they say are letting them down.
Stoneman Douglas High School student Cameron Kasky told CBS's "Face the Nation" that "the adult politicians have been playing around while my generation has been losing our lives."
"And 'March For Our Lives' has support from everybody," Kasky continued. "And at the end of the day, this isn't a red and blue thing, this isn't Democrats and Republicans, this is about everybody and how we are begging for our lives. And we are getting support, but we need to make real change here. And that's exactly what we're going to do."
Moments later, another student, Emma Gonzalez, made it clear that this certainly is about politics when she brought the NRA into the debate, even predicting that politicians who accept NRA donations will "be gone by midterm elections."
"We're going to be doing a march, in March, on Washington where we get students all over the country are going to be joining us," Gonzalez said.
"These kids are going to make this difference because the adults let us down. And at this point I don't even know if the adults in power who are funded by the NRA, I don't even think we need them anymore because they're going to be gone by midterm elections. There's barely any time for them to save their skins. And if they don't turn around right now and state their open support for this movement, they're going to be left behind because you are either with us or against us at this point," Gonzalez said.
Kasky jumped in again, saying the students are giving the politicians who "neglected" them a "clean slate."
"But," he warned, "from here on, we are creating a badge of shame for any politicians who are accepting money from the NRA. It is a special interest group that has most certainly not our best interests in mind, and this cannot be the normal. This can be changed and it will be changed. And anybody who tells you that it can't is buying into the facade that has been created by the people who have our blood on their hand."
The National Rifle Association supports the legal possession and use of firearms and protects' Americans' right to self-defense. It also donates to politicians who endorse the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. The "blood on its hands" line is straight out of the liberal, anti-gun, anti-NRA playbook, and by making the NRA the bogeyman, as it so often is, the students politicized the debate that supposedly "isn't a red and blue thing."
A third student, David Hogg (whose father is a retired FBI agent), in response to a leading question posed by host Nancy Cordes, had a message for President Trump -- "You sicken me."
"President Trump, you control the House of Representatives. You control the Senate," Hogg said. "And you control the Executive. You haven't taken a single bill for mental health care or gun control and passed it. And that's pathetic. We've seen a government shutdown. We've seen tax reform. But nothing to save our children's lives. Are you kidding me? You think now is the time to focus on the past and not the future to prevent the deaths of thousands of other children. You sicken me."
(But remember, this isn't red or blue or Democrats or Republicans.)
Asked what laws they want to see passed, Hogg backed off his anti-Trump pony:
"Well, what I think needs to be on the books right now that isn't is literally any law that's from either side of the political spectrum. If you're a Republican that supports mental health care, we want you out there making your voice heard because that's just as important as gun control or gun safety laws at this point because Democrats also want gun safety rules, and we can't get into any more debates. We need discussion. We've had the debates. And people have died as a result. Children have died and will continue to if we don't stop now and look at both sides of this because we can't wait around any longer. Children are dying as a result. And we need to take action.
"And I call on President Trump and the Republican controlled House and Senate and executive branch to work together, get some bills passed and stop taking money from the NRA, because children are dying and so is the future of America as a result," Hogg said.
'We don't want to disarm America'
Kasky took issue with the phrase "gun rights."
"I just want to say, something I've heard a lot is the word 'gun rights.' And that has the connotation that we are trying to strip people of their rights. Well, first of all, we have the right to live and, second of all, here at 'March For Our Lives,' at least for me, we don't want to take the guns away from Americans.
"My father is a police officer. He has guns. And I understand that having concealed weapons is good for protecting yourself. But an AR-15 is not needed to protect your house from robbers. It's not needed to hunt bears. An AR-15 is a weapon of war. And a 19-year-old who is mentally challenged and has problems was able to buy an AR-15 easily.
"We don't want to disarm America," Kasky continued. "We want to make America have to work for their weapons. And we have to make sure that everybody who has this kind of power in their hands has been cleared to have it. Because if Nikolas Cruz had gone through five minutes with any medical professional, they would have said, this person does not need an AR-15. This person needs a counselor. And 17 people would not have need graves."
The students are leading a renewed push to ban the sale of semi-automatic weapons, especially the AR-15, something gun control groups have demanded ever since the Clinton-era ban expired in September 2004.
In Congress, meanwhile, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) has bipartisan support for a "Fix NICS" bill that would improve the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) by ensuring that federal and state authorities, which includes branches of the military, comply with existing law and accurately report relevant criminal history records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).