WASHINGTON – On Wednesday, President Donald Trump sat down with students, parents, and teachers affected by gun violence to talk about how to improve school safety.
Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were also in attendance. Several of the teens survived last week's school shooting in Parkland, Florida where 17 people were killed.
"It was very scary," said Julia Cordover. "I appreciate you hosting me. I am confident you will do the right thing."
"We lost 17 lives but the ripple effects throughout the community are devastating," said Christine Hunschofsky, Parkland's mayor.
"Time has stood still," said Sam Zeif, Parkland School Shooting survivor. "I lost my best friend who is practically my brother, I am here to use my voice because he can't"
The listening session was led by the president, Vice President Mike Pence, and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
"We are here to listen, gain your important perspective on how to reduce violence and protect students," DeVos told the group.
The White House is considering taking action to change the country's gun laws.
President Trump supports tightening background checks and is working with senators on a bi-partisan bill to improve federal compliance with criminal background check legislation.
"It's not going to be just talk like it has been in the past," Trump said. "We are going to be very strong in background checks, emphasis on the mental health of somebody."
I will always remember the time I spent today with courageous students, teachers and families. So much love in the midst of so much pain. We must not let them down. We must keep our children safe!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 22, 2018
Senators are introducing a bill to raise the minimum age required to purchase a rifle which includes weapons like the AR-15 used in the Parkland shooting.
"People need to feel safe and parents shouldn't have to go through the idea of losing their child," said Justin Gruber, a Stoneman Douglas student.
On Tuesday, Trump announced he signed a memo directing the Justice Department to craft regulation to ban all devices like bump stocks that allow semi-automatic firearms to be adjusted to become automatic.
The gunman in Las Vegas, Nev., killed 58 people using such a device.
The president will talk with state and local leaders on Thursday followed by a meeting with the state's governors in an effort to make school safety a top priority.
"After I listen we're going to get things done," Trump said. "This is a long-term situation that we are going to solve together."