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Tens Of Thousands Gather For March Against Gun Violence; Mother Of Heroic Parkland Teacher Speaks On Gun Control; Massive Crowds Rally Nationwide To Demand Gun Control. Aired 12-1p ET

Aired March 24, 2018 - 12:00   ET




ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. And welcome to our special coverage. I'm Alisyn Camerota in Washington, D.C. The scene of today's biggest march against gun violence. At this hour, the main event is getting under way.

Here in the nation's capital, there's a huge crowd that has engulfed much of Pennsylvania Avenue. One of the main drags where they'll be marching. The turnout is so big, in fact, at this moment, the crowd is actually too big to begin marching.

There's this boisterous army of protesters. They're here to send a message to the president and to lawmakers and to everyone who's listening. They're trying to prevent the next school shooting and their battle cry is never again.

So, here's what the "March For Our Lives" website says they're calling for today. They want to pass a law banning assault weapons and high- capacity magazines. They want to expand background checks to eliminate the loopholes in the sales of guns at gun shows as well as online.

Obviously, this movement, though, is not monolithic. There are lots of people here we'll talk to that have their own ideas for how to cut down on gun violence. But those are the three stated goals.

So, this movement of course was born in the first days after the high school massacre in Parkland, Florida. The students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas who lost 17 of their classmates and teachers, they ignited this movement, and there are hundreds of those students here today.

And several will address the crowd over the next few hours. We'll bring those to you as they happen. And they have become the new voices in this gun debate that of course has been deadlocked for years in this country.

Hundreds of other "March For Our Live" events are taking place around the country today. And the movement has gone global. Protests are being held across the world to try to stop gun violence.

So, I am joined now by CNN senior national correspondent, Alex Marquardt. He is in Boston. Tell us what the scene is there -- Alex.

ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, it is a massive and growing protest, impossible to say how many people have turned out today. It stretches as far as the eye can see. As you can hear, it is a loud energetic happy protest.

There have been some -- many poignant moments, strong moments, of these people calling, of these young students calling for change, calling for greater gun control legislation. In addition to the strong messages they're sending, we can see some of these signs.

My textbooks are not my shields and, "caution, students are dying." The students here are not just from Boston. They're from the surrounding area, including all the way up from Maine.

We've met a number of students, Alisyn, from Parkland, Florida, including Leslie Chu, who I want to introduce to, who graduated from Stoneman Douglas. How are you doing, Leslie?


MARQUARDT: How is the march going so far?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's going great. I've never felt so empowered in my life.

MARQUARDT: What do you think the family of Stoneman Douglas is feeling today just over a month since that horrific tragedy?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot of sorrow. A lot of pride. A lot of pride for our town. It's important to remember, this is not just in Parkland. It is in every community, especially those of color. But they've not been given the platform and we are lifting them up. This is not just Parkland.

MARQUARDT: Not just about school shootings you've been saying. This is about gun violence in general.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, it's not just about school, it's not just about movie theaters. It's about people's homes, people's streets, everywhere.

MARQUARDT: Have you been in touch with your fellow former students and current students from Stoneman Douglas?


MARQUARDT: Are they happy with the way things are going today?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Every day, I talk to my friends and we are so proud to be part of this movement. This is not a moment, this is a movement.

MARQUARDT: What happened after the parade when the crowds go home? What are you hoping? What are you expecting will happen?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We go home, and we keep making change. People register to vote and vote out those who are not with us.

MARQUARDT: Now the focus today is very much on the students, very much on the young people, not on elected officials, not on adults. You did speak with Senator Elizabeth Warren earlier today. What did she tell you? What did you tell her?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She told us to keep doing what we are doing, and she will fight for us. Politicians and elected need to listen to us, but not just one in one ear and not the other. They need to take action. I need action. Not just open promises. Actual change.

MARQUARDT: Thank you so much, Leslie.


MARQUARDT: Alisyn, we're on our way to Boston Common where this parade will end, but then the rally will begin. I have to tell you, I've covered marches, demonstrations around the world. They're usually led by adults.

[12:05:11] Today, the adults have been literally pushed to the side, told that this is not about you today, this is not your moment. The people lining the parade route here are from the older generation. They're the parents. They're the teachers. The people in the crowd. They are the students. As we've been saying, it is about them today -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Listen, Alex, we've been saying, if you want passion, find a teenager. They know intensity. The young woman you just interviewed who feels so empowered she said. Thank you, Alex.

We want to bring in CNN's Dianne Gallagher. She's with a group of students who made the trip here from Parkland, Florida. Diane, I know you've been with the Parkland students for weeks now, so tell us how their journey here has been.

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you know, we arrived the day of the shooting unfortunately. We've been with these students basically every day since. We've traveled with them. I have Lauren Hogg with me here. She testified at a congressional briefing. You're a freshman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. You lost four of your friends in the shooting. This has not been easy. What is it like seeing all of this today?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Seeing this, it's just surreal. What happened was so tragic, but this is just beautiful, it's genuinely amazing that these many people who weren't directly affected by this are so passionate about it.

GALLAGHER: Show me something really quick because a lot of us have to wear credentials because there's a lot of people here. Lauren, you guys have these special credentials. Talk to me about this one dollar and five cents you're wearing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We took the amount of money that Marco Rubio took from the NRA and divided it by every single student in the state of Florida, so this is how much we're worth to the government. It's a price tag.

GALLAGHER: That's a really raw way of putting it. The message there gets attention, but are we going to hear about that from on stage from you guys?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm not sure yet. You'll just have to wait and see.

GALLAGHER: Thank you so much, Lauren. I so appreciate you being here with us. They've got a lot planned. We've heard students not just from Marjory Stoneman Douglas, but students all around the country who have been affected by gun violence as young as 11 years old, who are going to be speaking today, Fred.

We marched in from a hotel about a mile away today with the alumni, the teachers, the parents, the students, as they tried to part the sea of people coming up to this stage area. You probably can't see too much behind me but this entire beginning part, right here in front of this stage.

It is going to be full of not just Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students but students from around country including those from the high school in Pennsylvania who got detention for walking out on national walkout today.

A lot of kids wearing school colors, representing their school, trying to make sure that people are aware this is a youth movement. They are proud of it. They're not looking at it like it's a bad thing it's young people running the show here. In their minds, that makes this better, that makes this more pure.

CAMEROTA: Dianne Gallagher, thank you. We want to bring in CNN's Rene Marsh, she is near the performance stage. Rene, I know there's lots of very high-profile names performing today.

RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this is the main stage where people have been actually lining up since around 6:30 this morning when we got here. They're really packed in now. It's their spring break. They're out here in full force because they're so passionate about this.

On this main stage behind me, we're going to see speakers throughout the afternoon. It should be kicking off in a few moments. Celebrities like Common, Jennifer Hudson, Audrey O'Day, Miley Cyrus, taking to the stage to essentially support these young people who are pushing for stricter gun rights.

Alisyn, what's so striking when you look out at this crowd, it really is diverse, I mean, very reflective of what America looks like. It just strikes you that this is the next generation of voters, and they have a very specific message.

I just spoke to Senator Bill Nelson just a short time ago and he recognized that. And he believes other lawmakers here in Washington, D.C. should recognize it too. Take a listen.


SENATOR BILL NELSON (D), FLORIDA: We've had enough. They are giving voice and faces that are directly affected. They're demanding action. I believe it will come, but it's not going to come until you start changing some of the people at election time.


MARSH: All right, and these young people are saying that they plan on doing just that, D.C. police planning for a half a million people here and we expect this to all get under way in just a short moment. Back to you, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, Rene, thank you very much for all of that preview.

[12:10:08] So, amid all the blood shed during the school massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, there were stories of heroism including Geography Teacher Scott Beigel. He shielded his students as the shooting started. He stayed at the door of his classroom to get them inside, but he lost his own life doing so.

So, with me now is a woman that you will recognize, it is Scott's mother, Linda Beigel Schulman. We talked to her in the days right after this tragedy. She's here with us today. So, Linda, thank you so much for being here in Washington with us.

So, Linda, listen, I remember obviously talking to you in your most grief-stricken moments right after the shooting. What's it like now five weeks later to watch what's happening here in Washington?

LINDA BEIGEL SCHULMAN, MOTHER OF SCOTT BEIGEL: It's amazing. It's a fabulous movement. It's going to continue. The students are vocal. You know, people say to me there are no words and, you know what, today, there are words.

Back then there were no words. Today there are words and we are using our words, and the students are using their words. We are going to continue to use our words and be right behind those students.

CAMEROTA: I mean, you found your voice. The students have found their voice. You didn't want to be an advocate against gun violence, this isn't something you choose to do with your life, but here you are.

SCHULMAN: This is my passion right now, this is my calling, this is my legacy to my son.

CAMEROTA: After this happened, you went to the Florida state legislature. You met with lawmakers there. Guess what, laws were passed. They acted after that. I know you've spoken to lawmakers here in Washington. Can you just tell us, share with us, if you can what some of those conversations have been like?

SCHULMAN: I got a phone call from Marco Rubio. He called me, and we had quite a -- we had a 45-minute conversation. He was explaining his position. He was explaining what he was going to do, and it was interesting. When I was first told he called, I was like, oh, why am I talking to him, he doesn't believe in anything that we want to have happen. It was so amazing. I was so pleasantly surprised.

CAMEROTA: I want to hear all the things he said to you. This is such a beautiful song. This is Audra Day "Rise Up." let's pause one moment so we can listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: God bless ya'll, rise up to what you guys are doing today, stand up, because we won't stand for this anymore. Ya'll ready? Ya'll ready? Please give it up for Baltimore choir.

CAMEROTA: OK, we've been listening there to Audra Day and the Cardinal school choir. That song gives me goose bumps. You were telling me how Marco Rubio called you. You had a 45-minute conversation. You're not his constituent. You live in New York. What were the things he told you he was going to do?

SCHULMAN: We talked a lot about common ground. I explained to him that I certainly have my political philosophies, but those are so put aside. We talked about -- he talked to me about -- he said, you know, if there are -- if in Congress he said if there are ten things we all agree on, the right and the left.

[12:15:08] If there are ten issues, he said if five of them we all agree on. He said why don't we pass those five, and then let's debate the other five.

CAMEROTA: He had said let's start with the easy stuff. It seems like that's what they did last night. They started with the stop school violence act. It doesn't touch guns, but it does do other interventions. In terms of identifying possible risks. So, it sounds like that's what they're trying to do. Did you feel better about that?

SCHULMAN: I did. I did feel better, but I also liked when he said that he was working more towards the middle. I like that. I just saw one of the clips from CNN and one of the students was holding up that Marco Rubio took this amount of money from the NRA. I really feel like we need to get past that.

We need to go and talk to the people who we see aren't on our side so to speak. We need to get those people -- not fight them, speak to them. Explain to them. Make them listen to us, be heard and have them more move to the middle.

CAMEROTA: About your son, Scott, as you know, his students have spoken so emotionally about him, including Kelsey Friend, who says that he saved her life. I know when we were together in Parkland, you were able to meet her. You had sort of an emotional meeting. She promised she was going to stay in touch with you. Has she stayed in touch with you?

SCHULMAN: Kelsey has called me. In the beginning she called me almost every day. I promised her I would take the phone call if I could, otherwise I'd call her back. I have either spoken to Kelsey. She also brought two of her friends with her. I've spoken to them. If I don't speak to her, we text. She is -- it's not Scott calling me, but it's a tiny piece of Scott that calls me and yes, she's called me. It just -- it brings me back to Parkland every day.

CAMEROTA: Wow, that's beautiful. I'm so glad that you two have this relationship and something good has come out of this. Linda, thank you very much for sharing all of your feelings with us and we're cheering you on, thanks so much.

SCHULMAN: Thank you so much.

CAMEROTA: We're going to have much more of our special live coverage from Washington, D.C. and around the country next. Stay with us.



CAMEROTA: OK, we want to go right to the first speaker. He is the student from Parkland school that you may know, it's Cameron Casky. He's speaking. Let's listen in.

CAMERON CASKY, STUDENT, MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL: -- to keep our country moving forward and we will. We hereby promise to fix the broken system we've been forced into and create a better world for the generations to come. Don't worry. We've got this. The people of this country now see past the lies. We've seen this narrative before.

For the first time, the corrupt aren't controlling our story, we are. The corrupt aren't manipulating the facts. We know the truth. Shooting after shooting, the American people now see one thing they all have in common, the weapons. Politicians either represent the people or get out. The people demand a law banning the sale of assault weapons.

The people demand we prohibit the sale of high capacity magazines. The people demand universal background checks. Stand for us or beware, the voters are coming. On February 14th, tragedy struck my hometown and my school Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, Alyssa Ahladek, Scott Beigel, Luke Hoyer, Joaquin Oliver, Alaina Petty, Meadow Pollack, Helena Ramsay, Alex Schachter, Carmen (inaudible), Peter Wang, and Nicholas Ward (ph), all lost their lives in less than 7 minutes.

And I saved Nicholas for the end because today is Nicholas' birthday. Nicholas, we are all here for you. Happy birthday. Their families endured great pain. Thousands of young people, my classmates, were forced to become adults and were targeted as adults. We have to do this for them.

We must stand beside those we've lost and fix the world that betrayed them. This doesn't just happen in schools. Americans are being attacked in churches, nightclubs, movie theaters, on the streets. We, the people, can fix this. For the first time in a long while, I look forward ten years and I feel hope. I see light. I see a system I'll be proud of, but it all starts with you. The march is not the climax of this movement. It is the beginning. It is the spring board off of which my generation and all who stand with us will jump into a safer future.

Today is a bad day for tyranny and corruption. Today, we take to the streets at over 800 marches around the globe and demand commonsense gun laws. Today is the beginning of a bright new future for this country.

And if you think today is good, just wait for tomorrow. We must protect, educate and inspire the future, and everybody here is proof that will do bright for this country. Thank you.

CAMEROTA: OK, we've been listening to Cameron Casky, one of most outspoken students who survived the Parkland school shooting about five weeks ago. So, he called there for what the students want to see, and it has to do with gun reform.

Let's go now to CNN's Ryan Young. He's in Chicago. You heard Cameron there talking about all of the many marches that are happening around the country and around the world. Ryan, what are you seeing in Chicago?

[12:25:11] RYAN YOUNG, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the rally here just starting. We just had a young lady get on stage and talk about how she lost a classmate just recently due to gun violence. This is so passionate for people here because they deal with gun violence all the time.

Just since the Parkland shooting alone, there's been more than 175 people shot in the city. To kind of show you how it stretches, you can see this alumni association from Parkland. They came here together to show their strength and togetherness. How did you come together after the shooting?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just a few days after the shooting, overnight, we had an alumni network of over 11,000 people. We actually formed just a few days after. And since then, alumni across the country have been putting on events, raising awareness. We were instrumental in getting students to D.C.

Just last week, we had a benefit to fund raise for March For Our Lives raising over $4,000 for these students to put on this event. We want to be helpful from Parkland to Chicago, everywhere in between.

YOUNG: What's this pain like? Obviously, it's your school. Everyone's talking, they're galvanized. I've seen you guys come together. What's this like to see everyone now, even in Chicago together?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's very inspiring especially these students. It's -- it's just -- we got to get out and fight. It's great to be here today and to be in Chicago. You know, a lot of us -- I felt like I was going to go to D.C., but I'm proud to be here in Chicago where I feel like we really need to be together and fighting.

YOUNG: The big conversation here, you hear it over and over again, is kind of changing the conversation, especially here in the city, where a lot of the victims of gun violence are black and brown. They really want to see a difference here. You think about almost every 4 minutes, someone is shot in the city.

You have people who are on the stage. They all have to be under the age of 21. As you look back here, you hear them talking about big subject in terms of trying to protect communities, trying to come together, trying to inspire a change.

And they're not only talking about the changing guns laws, but just the idea that they want to make sure there's a combination in terms of classes and the idea that they want to make sure that this community can come together and get some of these assault rifles off the street because in urban areas, we know there's so much damage when it comes to what happens in the streets of Chicago.

CAMEROTA: Ryan, you're so right. I mean, listen, obviously after a school shooting, it galvanizes the country, it gets so much attention, but then there's places where there's violence every day.

All right. We want to bring in, now, CNN's Ed Lavandera. Look at the crowd there, by the way in Chicago. Ed Lavandera, you have been spending time today with survivors of gun violence from across the country as well. So, tell us what they're saying to you.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Alisyn, we're here with a group of unique people, they connect simply by sharing one name, Aurora Theater, Tucson, Orlando, Las Vegas. These are all the horrific tragedies that have bonded this group together, survivors or people who lost loved ones.

A young woman who lost a father who was a professor at Virginia Tech. This is the horrific tragedy that bonded them all together. They wanted to be here on this day, Alisyn, to support the students of Stoneman Douglas, to be here to listen to their speeches. They say it's important.

They have been -- they were kind of -- they all talk about how they were thrust into activism because of the horrific tragedy that fell upon them. They've met a lot of struggles. They say frankly things have been very slow to change.

Oftentimes perhaps feeling a little bit discouraged. They wanted to feel reinvigorated by the students, the young kids from Parkland, to hear them speak. How we often talk about how kids are supposed to learn from their elders.

The group behind us has often told me in this particular case it's the elders who have come here to learn from the young kids, to walk away reinvigorated, to fight the fights that they're battling in their own communities. That's why they wanted to be here today -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: I've heard so many people say that about all these teenage protesters as well. Obviously, that's a club those folks never wanted to be in but here they are today. Ed, thank you very much.

We want to go now to CNN's Jason Carroll. He's in New York with the protests happening there. Jason, what's the scene?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the march has already started down Central Park South. So many people started, actually, jumping in from the sidelines and joining in on the march. We've heard so many marches today, voices from survivors, voices from family members.

Just a little short while ago, I spoke to Paul McCartney about what this march means for him and why it's become so personal.


[12:30:05] CARROLL: What do you hope can be accomplished?


CARROLL: Do you think that can happen at the legislative level? We've seen it happen at the state level in places like Florida and here in New York.

MCCARTNEY: You know, I'm like everyone, I don't know. But this is what we can do and so I'm here to do it. One of my best friends was killed in gun violence right around here. So, it's important to me.


CARROLL: In just a short while ago, we also spoke to the governor who said it's important not just to march today but to take action tomorrow. And to have these people to have their voices heard. One of those folks out here right now, a mother who marched 17 years ago and is also out here again today who said you were angry?

UNIDENTFIED FEMALE: I'm angry. I'm angry, because we went to Washington for the million mom march and nothing has happened. And nothing will happen until people voice their votes and they vote at the polls and we vote out the Republicans who are basically bought and sold by the NRA.

CARROLL: One of the things that I keep hearing over and over is that while accomplishments have been made at the state level, when you look at what happened in Florida, you look at what happened here in the state of New York with some tough gun legislation, but nothing yet at the national level. What do you think it's going to take to make something like that happened?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, first of all, you got to keep it local. The New York laws need to be tightened up and the New York state Senate has to step up. But it's going to take the nation and the voters to reject anyone who takes money from the NRA and to vote out the people who are blocking the laws.

There's no reason that somebody needs to have a semiautomatic weapon. That is not what our founders meant, that's not what the constitution says.

CARROLL: Clear what you guys are doing today. What do you think you will be doing tomorrow and going forward?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I mean, everyone has to realize that enough is enough. And that we have to continue this movement. It's not a moment, it's a movement. And we've got to keep moving forward and pressing to get common sense to gun control and laws changed. That's what we have to do every day until it's done.

CARROLL: Thanks very much. You guys keep marching. Right now, we've got thousands of people standing shoulder to shoulder, heading down central park south. We're going to keep marching. Bringing it to you live, back to you, Alisyn.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Jason, thank you very much. I'm sitting next to April Ryan who when she saw Paul McCartney, she started singing give peace a chance.

So, this is -- but right now, I want to bring you to this main stage. This is Delaney Tarr. She is another student from Stoneman Douglas High School. Let's listen to what she has to say.


DELANEY TARR, STONEMAN DOUGLAS STUDENT: They know that if there is no tightening of the background checks, we will vote them out. They know that if there is no shrinking of magazine capacity that we will vote them out. If they continue to ignore us, to only pretend to listen, then we will take action where it counts. We will take action every day in every way until they simply cannot ignore us anymore.

Today, we march, we fight, we roar. We prepare our signs, we raise them high. We know what we want, we know how to get it and we are not waiting any longer. Thank you.


[12:33:35] CAMEROTA: OK. We will have much more of our special live coverage from Washington, D.C. and this March For Our Lives next, stay with us.



CAMEROTA: Well, we've been listening to a really emotional performance there by Demi Lovato, the song is caked "Skyscraper" and then you heard her say "Marjory Stoneman Douglas strong". That really had the crowd pretty gripped as we've just saw.

But let's talk about the progress that Congress is making in terms of fighting gun violence, because there are some things that happened last night that we should tell you about. Part of this omnibus spending bill which was signed by President Trump yesterday in a Congress strengthened the federal background check system and they added $100 million annually to enhance school security. Both were proposals pushed by a number of Senators including Marco Rubio of Florida which of course is the site of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas School shooting.

[12:40:06] In a weekend interview on New Day, I was mischaracterized Senator Rubio has not being focus on gun violence at state department. And I failed to mention that, in fact, there's been a lot that he's been doing behind the scenes. So, I want to highlight some of those things because I think it would be helpful for viewers to hear all that has been happening leading up to yesterday's legislation.

So, Senator Rubio, as you heard from Scott Beigel's mom, he had met and called victims and victim's families. He participated of course in the CNN town hall, but he's also bucked his own party and the NRA to support raising the age limit, to buy some guns from 18 to 21.

This week, he and fellow Florida Senator Bill Nelson announced a bipartisan bill to try to keep people with mental health issues from having guns. This is similar to the temporary restraining orders that Florida put in place after Parkland and Connecticut put in place after New Town.

In fact, the Senator's office tells me that starting tomorrow he will be focused on getting that so-called red flag bill passed. In other words, this march does not end the push for change in Congress.

So, let me bring in now our guests. So we have CNN Political Analyst April Ryan and James Galiano, he is a CNN Law Enforcement Analyst and retired FBI Supervisory Special Agent. Great to get vote of you, have you both of you here.

Things have happened in the five weeks since the Parkland massacre. I mean, just, April, last night what I just mentioned, these things they don't tackle gun reform, but they sure seem like steps in the right direction.

Let me just tell people, the stop school violence act here, so one thing to think is it identifies warning signs. It tries to intervene. It allows for anonymous reporting systems. It develops crisis intervention teams. It better coordinates between schools and law enforcement. I mean, those are all things that might have been able to help with Parkland.

APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: There were steps, but there needs to be more of a comprehensive approach. You've got a lot of issues. You've got more issues like, you know, I just talked to the mayor of Baltimore City, Catherine Pew, and the police commissioner, Darryl De Sousa, and they were saying, you know, that's a city that doesn't have a gun shop in the city limits. But they're getting an increase of illegal guns. And that's another issue.

And then I talked to Senator James Clyburn of South Carolina this week, and he said what's in this bill is great, but, you know, when it comes to background checks, the devil's in the details.

There's this little loophole where you've got, if you go past -- if you can make the extended time period of the background check beyond three days, you can get a gun without worrying about the background check. So, there is a lot of loophole kind of things. There's a lot of devil in the detail things, but this is a bigger issue.

The impetus right now, the movement, the hope here, stemmed from the school house shooting. But when we think of shootings, you know, we see people listening to the concert with their hands up don't shoot. Shootings in this nation encompass churches, school houses, movie theaters, so many different places. This is a beginning, its small incremental steps.

CAMEROTA: Yes, for sure. I mean -- and listen, the students who are here, they want more than what happened last night. But, again, it didn't happen after Las Vegas. The bump stocks and the DOJ just took action today about bump stocks. It didn't happen after 58 people were mowed down in Las Vegas. Things are slowly moving. You're in law enforcement, James. What do you think the answer is?

JAMES GALIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: The wheels of change are happening. And I'm getting chills just having this conversation just north of the National Mall where women suffrage started and civil rights.


GALIANO: And I want to put this into personal context. This is also where the Vietnam protests took place.


GALIANO: My father's a Vietnam War veteran. I'm a West Point graduate. I think that we need to get to a place which I think this movement is beginning where we're trying to talk to each other instead of at each other. And as a conservative, as a law enforcement professional for 25 year, as a gun owner, what you mentioned that is low-hanging fruit.

The fact that 97 percent of the American people believe in universal background checks --

CAMEROTA: That's huge.

GALIANO: -- where's the 3 percent is what I want to know. And then how do we not make that happen? The bump stock, you have a legal weapon. You add an illegal gimmick work-around device which you can purchase legally to it. It's now illegal. How do we not work our way around it?

CAMEROTA: A military-style weapon.

GALIANO: It turns it into a weapon of war.

CAMEROTA: Yes. But now they're attempting to fix that. There actually has been movement on those banning those bump stocks now.

RYAN: But the president has been talking about I can do this, I can do this. We're just starting to hear him really talk about making movement on this. He talked about it at the town hall at the White House with the victims of school house shootings. And he has talked about it with congressional leaders.

And the question is, is this movement this week that the president talked about just in the last couple of hours really, is this really just for this moment strategically placed for this moment as he had been talking about it before. Was this country action is going to keep moving on? Because this is a movement, this is not a moment.

[12:45:08] CAMEROTA: Understood.

RYAN: Yes.

CAMEROTA: I mean these kids all say that this is not the end. This is basically the start of what they plan to do. They have another student walkout plan for April 20th. They're keeping the momentum going.

But let's talk about one thing that it sounded like the president, as well as Republican Senators like Senator Marco Rubio, some all Democratic Senators wanted but it hasn't happened. Raising the age limits to buy certain rifles from 18 to 21. So that sounded like something that was going to have a consensus but nothing has happened on that. What do you think the problem is?

GALIANO: I've got been in trouble before for trying to speak to this. And, again, I am perfectly situated to talk about it. Because people scream at me if I say I don't believe that an 18-year-old needs to have an assault weapon.

And let's make sure we clarify what an assault weapon is. Collectible stuff, pistol grip, attachable magazines, shrouded barrel, flash repressor, those are five things. Now, every jurisdiction defines them differently, but that's an assault weapon. It can be semi- automatic but it's an assault weapon and it is a weapon of war.

When I argued that an 18-year-old shouldn't be able to purchase one, people screamed yes, but in the revolutionary war, we rose up against King George and there were 15 year olds serving. They were easy smooth war muskets. It's a different time.

There's also the issue with the gun show loophole.


GALIANO: 18-year-olds cannot buy handguns. The reason why there's a restriction on that, handguns are concealable and obviously it's a lot harder to hide a rifle. But if you can go to a gun show and it's not a federally regulated dealer selling that weapon, they sell them to an 18-year-old and in some state it's 18 year old -- it's not against the law for them to own it.

RYAN: And Alisyn, the crazy piece is you're talking about the gun show loophole. This is 2018, 21 years ago when Bill Clinton was president, he was trying to close the gun show loophole. CAMEROTA: Yes.

RYAN: And it's a slow process, but I'm going to tell you this, and we're not calling it out for what it is. One of the reasons why there's a big issue around raising the age limit on these military style weapons is the NRA. And even if the president said, hey, I'm for raising the age. The NRA is still close to too many members in to the House and Senate to be able to -- for the president to make something happen.

CAMEROTA: I understand, they're opposed to it but the president said that he wanted it.

RYAN: -- if those members will stop him at every step.


GALIANO: And I don't think it's necessarily the enemy. We need to move closer to being able to talk to them and have a sensible conversation without demonizing them.

CAMEROTA: Yes. I hear you and I think that we --

RYAN: No I'm not humanizing the NRA, no I'm not.

CAMEROTA: Agreed. And I think that we have to all agree that everybody wants to keep schools safe and wants not -- never to see another massacre at a school.

RYAN: Not just schools, everywhere. People want to be safe everywhere. Yes.

CAMEROTA: Great point. OK, April, James, thank you both very much. We will have much more of our special live coverage of the March For Our Lives next.


[12:52:28] CAMEROTA: I'm Alisyn Camerota. I'm here in Washington, D.C. This is basically ground zero for the March For Our Lives, where it seems as though hundreds of thousands of students and their supporters all have turned out across the country. This is the biggest one here in Washington, D.C. as you know, the impetus was the massacre at Stoneman Douglas High School and hundreds of those students have come here now to get the attention of lawmakers and the president and everyone around the country.

In fact, we believe right now, this is Alex Wind. He is of Stoneman Douglas High School. Let's listen to what he says.


ALEX WIND, STONEMAN DOUGLAS STUDENT: Senseless violence on the cities of our nation and cities like Miami, Chicago and Baltimore. It needs to stop. People believe that the youth of this country are insignificant. People believe that the youths have no voice. When Joan of Arc fought back English force she was 17 years old. When Mozart wrote his first symphony, he was 8 years old. To those who people that tell us that teenagers can't do anything, I say that we were the only people that could have made this movement possible.

Together, we will use our voices to make sure that our schools, churches, movie theaters and concerts and our streets become safer without having them feel like prisons.

If teachers start packing heat, are they going to arm our pastors, ministers and rabbis? Are they going to arm the guys selling tickets at the movie theater? Are they going to arm the person wearing the Mickey Mouse costume at Disney? This is what the National Rifle Association wants, and we will not stand for it.

We would not need metal detectors and clear backpacks and more weapons in our streets if there weren't weapons of war in the hands of civilians.

For too long, our government has been useless on this issue. Our job as their constituents is to make sure we know what they're thinking. There are over 250 representatives that have not come out with a public stance on this issue. It's our job to make sure that we call them up and force them out of the shadows of corruption and into the light of justice.

As teens, people think that we don't like to wait around for things and they're sometimes right. A lot of you are probably wondering, what now.

[12:55:15] Now, we need to come together on all fronts and push aside those that divide us. Now we need to get on the phone and call our representatives and push them to stop the incumbency and take action. Now, we need to educate ourselves on which politicians are truly working for the people and which ones we want to vote out, because at the end of the day, bullets do not discriminate. So why should we?

It is not about your race. It is not about your sexual orientation. It is not about your ethnicity. It is not about your gender. It is not about where you live or how much money you make. And it most certainly is not about political parties. All it comes down to is life or death.

To all the politicians out there, if you take money from the NRA, you have chosen death. If you have not expressed your constituents a public stance on this issue, you have chosen death. If you do not stand with us by saying we need to pass commonsense gun legislation, you have chosen death. And none of the millions of people marching in this country today will stop until they see those against us out of office because we choose life. Thank you. I love you all.


CAMEROTA: OK. You've been listening there to Alex Wind, one of the very passionate students from Stoneman Douglas. I mean the things that he said that got the crowd very riled up were the power of teenagers to change the world. That's what he talked about.

And you can hear the passion that all of these students have. They want Congress and the president to listen to what they want to see with gun reform. But this is not the only march and demonstration that's happening, it's happening all across the country. So let's go to CNN's Miguel Marquez, he's covering the March for Our Lives in Los Angeles. What's the scene there Miguel?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Several thousand people, Alisyn, getting ready to march to City Hall where they will have a full day of rallying, marches. And I want to give you a sense of what's happening in the crowd right now.

They are sort of rallying the crowd here at the beginning of the march. Several thousand people have turned out. They are angry not only at the National Rifle Association and at Republican politicians, but Democrats as well. Basically, a lack of action across the board in politics is what they want to see end on gun control. They want to see much more here.

We did have a chance to speak to one man who is here in a wheelchair. He's a 36-year-old man now. He was 17 years old when he was a student at Columbine High School in Colorado. He was shot eight times there. Says he still has bullets in his body. We'll bring up a little of that to you later on. Rich Constolda (ph) was his name.

It's very difficult for him to speak, but it is amazing to be at a rally like this, an occasion like this, and have that -- the gun violence, individuals from across the country, so close to it in every community, all of them now approaching the Congress, or the president to do something. Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Thank you very much, Miguel. We're listening right now to Lin Manuel Miranda, he's on stage along with Ben Platt, obviously of Dear Evan Hansen fame. So they're going to sing a song sounds tonight. So let's listen in.