ROCKVILLE, Md. — After a week filled with nationwide student protests and school walkouts, Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin made a stop at a Rockville high school Friday to hear concerns straight from the younger generation.
Cardin told a crowd of several hundred at Richard Montgomery High School that he was proud to see so many Maryland students walk out of their buildings and travel to the U.S. Capitol for a rally earlier in the week.
Local students — along with thousands of others across the country — left their classrooms to protest inaction on gun legislation following last month’s massacre at a Florida high school that left 17 people dead.
Telling the crowd that school safety is directly related to stronger gun laws, Cardin said he supports universal background checks and bans on assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines.
But that rhetoric was not good enough for some of the students who attended.
“All of these things that you’re saying are things that we’ve already heard,” said one of the students who stood in line to address the senator with a microphone. “I really don’t mean to be disrespectful, but what can you tell us that is new?”
Cardin responded by saying that student-led activism was changing the culture, drawing more attention to school safety.
“What you’re doing is very important,” said Cardin, pointing to the mass walkouts.
“This time it’s going to be different, he said. “We can win this issue.”
After the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, public support for gun control reached the highest point since 1993, with two-thirds of Americans supporting stricter laws, according to a Gallup Poll released Wednesday.
However, one proposal related to school safety that Cardin stood strongly against was arming teachers.
“There are ways to do it, but not by adding more guns,” Cardin said. “We don’t need more guns in the schools.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.