Two parents who lost children in the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School joined survivors of the school massacre in Florida to speak with President Donald Trump Thursday about school shootings.
"After Sandy Hook they said we wouldn’t let this happen again. And yet it has continued to happen for five years," Nicole Hockley told the president. Hockley lost her son Dylan in the Newtown shooting.
She called on Trump to focus on prevention, with training to spot the signs of that troubled children could turn to violence, and education on how to properly intervene before a tragedy occurs.
"This is not difficult," she said. "These deaths are preventable. And I implore you. Consider your own children. You don’t want to be me. No parent does. And you have the ability to make a difference and save lives today. Please don’t waste this."
Trump has suggested the idea of arming teachers, an idea he endorsed in his campaign.
Mark Barden, who lost his son Daniel at Sandy Hook, told the president his wife Jackie is a school teacher. He said they both reject the idea that teachers should be armed.
"She will tell you that school teachers have more than enough responsibilities right now, than to have to have the awesome responsibility of lethal force to take a life," he said to applause in the room.
"A deranged sociopath on his way to commit an act of murder in a school knowing the outcome is going to be suicide, is not going to care if there's somebody there with a gun. That's their plan anyway."
Watch Barden addressing the White House listening session:
Earlier in the week, Florida lawmakers overwhelmingly voted down a bill that would consider a ban on assault weapons in the state. The vote came just days after 17 people were gunned down Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
Students from the school had urged lawmakers to support a ban.
The Newtown Action Alliance and 167 other organizations sent an open letter to officials in the state asking them to honor the students’ plea.
“They just witnessed their fellow students and teachers getting gunned down by a weapon of war," said Po Murray, the chair of the Newtown Action Alliance. "They feared for their own lives and after going through something like that, you would think these legislators would give them the time and pass sensible laws to predict them.”
The Newtown Action Alliance was formed after the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting to urge lawmakers to adopt stronger gun laws.