Press Release

On Five-Year Mark of Parkland Shooting, in Wake of Latest Massacre at Michigan State, AFT President Randi Weingarten Calls for Immediate Ban on Assault Weapons

For Release:


Oriana Korin

WASHINGTON—On Feb. 14, 2018, 17 people were killed in a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Last night, nearly five years to the day later, three people were killed in a campus shooting at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich. Gun violence remains the leading cause of death for American children, and there have been more mass shootings so far in 2023 than days in the year.  

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, who leads the 1.7 million-member union representing educators and school staff at Stoneman Douglas as well as graduate teaching assistants and some faculty at Michigan State, issued the following statement:

“The numbers tell us that soon nearly every person in America will be personally affected by gun violence. But for the parents whose lives have been shattered, the siblings who can’t make sense of these losses, and the grandparents, friends and other loved ones who have endured this immeasurable heartbreak, there is no number to quantify the loss. There is simply the helplessness of watching this horrific, preventable epidemic continue to take more lives, every single day.

“Today we say: enough. For our families, for our communities, and for the safety and humanity of all of us—we cannot be numb; we must act. We must immediately pass a federal assault weapons ban and take these heinous weapons of war off our streets. And we must build on the progress of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act by continuing to invest in resources for those affected by gun violence as well as to push for the commonsense gun safety policies that most Americans support and that we know work, including universal background checks, safe storage laws, bans on high-capacity magazines, and red-flag laws that enable key interventions.

“We demand action, and we hold all gun violence survivors in our hearts.”

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.