‘We need to work together’: Concerned parents call on lawmakers to agree on solutions to gun violence

Parents of school shooting victims and school students renewed their calls for school safety legislation after Tuesday’s shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

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Tony Montalto, president of Stand With Parkland, is still mourning the loss of his 14-year-old daughter, Gina Montalto.

She was killed in 2018 when a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

“Our family misses her deeply, every day,” Montalto said.

Max Schachter is the father of Alex Schacter, another Parkland shooting victim. He is also the general manager of Safe schools for Alex.

He said it is heartbreaking to hear that families of 19 children have to pick up the pieces.

“I’ve been there and I know what they’re going through,” Schachter said.

He said this is the America we live in, but he hopes that can change soon.

Lawmakers pushed for “school hardening” legislation, which would introduce new safety measures to make schools safer.

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Florida Sen. Rick Scott wants the Senate to pass the Luke and Alex School Safety Act — a bill that would create a federal clearinghouse of best practices in school safety.

The bill would help implement security measures that could prevent gun violence in the future.

Schachter said he came up with the idea after the Parkland shooting. He called it “common sense” safety legislation.

It was formed in the clearing house within the Department of Homeland Security but has not been adopted federally.

Even if it passes, Schachter said the act alone wouldn’t be enough.

“I never said it was the panacea and the answer to mass shooting – I say it’s a piece of the puzzle,” Schachter said.

He thinks more gun control laws should also be passed.

Montalto agrees that there is no solution. He believes this is a multi-layered problem that can be solved if communities embrace the School Safety Triad.

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The triad includes safe school campuses, better mental health screenings and support programs, and responsible gun ownership.

He said school shootings often turn into conversations about guns, but every piece of the puzzle needs to be solved.

“Let’s come together and find solutions that will keep our children and staff safe at school,” Montalto said.

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Maria D. Ervin