Mothers rallying in St. Pete Saturday to stop gun violence

- The Parkland shooting massacre has Bay Area parents fired up. Many hope the tragedy will push lawmakers to tighten up gun laws. 

For Wendy Malloy, it only took one threat of a gun at her son, Jacob’s school for her to take action.

"For about 45 minutes I was more terrified then I have ever been in my life," she said.

The Tampa woman has been volunteering with Moms Demand Action ever since.

The national movement backs solutions to help put the brakes on the escalating epidemic of gun violence.

“Our purpose is to honor with action. We believe in taking that grief and anger and heartbreak and turning it into meaningful legislation,” Malloy said. “Laws that have teeth that will save our kids and make it harder for people who shouldn't have guns in their hands, make it harder for them to get a gun."

In the sunshine state, the Florida chapter of Moms Demand Action is pushing against proposed legislation that would allow firearms to be carried on school property by trained staffers. 

Right now, having a weapon on campuses is against the law.               

Republican Senator, Dennis Baxley, introduced the bill.

"We've given all this responsibility for safety to these administrators, but very few tools with which to respond,” Baxley said. “I think that’s a critical period."

The legislation was on the Senate Judiciary Committee agenda for next week, but the Sumter County lawmaker says he plans to back off for now.

Moms Demand Action would prefer to see other measures put in place to hopefully stop the next Parkland-scale tragedy from happening. Malloy believes this kind of gun violence is preventable.

"Every time this happens we think, 'Maybe this time, maybe this time this is gonna make a difference,'” she said. “We thought with Newtown, 20 little kids and six of their teachers, we thought, 'Okay, now maybe something will change.' Then the 500 people from the window in Las Vegas. 'Maybe now.' The church in Texas. 'Maybe now.' So every time there's that hope that maybe lawmakers will listen to their constituents across the country and do something, on an important level, one a wide scale."               

Moms Demand Action is one of a handful of advocacy groups hosting a vigil Saturday night in St. Petersburg for the victims of the Parkland massacre. After standing together in solidarity, they plan to rally to demand lawmakers take policy action.

The event kicks off February 17 at 5 p.m. at Williams Park located at 330 2nd Avenue North.

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