Florida school shooting survivors flood state's Capitol demanding gun ban as they prepare to grill lawmakers

Chloe Chaplain

Survivors of the Florida high school shooting are set to flood the state's Capitol complex demanding a ban of the assault-style rifle used to kill 17 people in the massacre.

Around 100 grieving students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas made the seven-hour bus trip across the state to descend on Tallahassee, calling for urgent action to prevent mass shootings.

They want a total ban on AR-15s and similar semi-automatic rifles – like that Nikolas Cruz is accused of using in the Valentine's Day attack.

The group was met with extended applause upon their arrival at a Tallahassee high school late on Tuesday - after a 400-mile trip on three buses.

Trip: the grieving students travelled 400 miles to the Capitol in Florida (EPA)

They told the 500 pupils and parents waiting for them that they are fighting to protect all students.

"We're what's making the change. We're going to talk to these politicians tomorrow. We're going to talk to them the day after that,” 16-year-old Alfonso Calderon said.

“We're going to keep talking, we're going to keep pushing until something is done because people are dying and this can't happen anymore. You guys are what we're trying to protect."

The students have vowed to enforce change through the midterm elections in November if lawmakers do not change policy before the legislative session ends.

Donald Trump: The President vowed to protect students from gun violence (AFP/Getty Images)

They plan to demand Donald Trump – an outspoken supporter of the Second Amendment which gives US citizens the right to own a firearm – take decisive action against guns.

A total ban on such weapons may be an optimistic goal for the pupils, but the shooting and their protesting has pushed Republican lawmakers to consider increasing some restrictions.

They are discussing raising the minimum age to purchase the assault-style rifle to 21, creating a waiting period and making it more difficult for people who exhibit signs of mental illness from buying the weapon even without a diagnosis.

Meanwhile President Trump signed off a ban on devices like the rapid-fire bump stocks used in last year's Las Vegas massacre – which allows the guns to fire hundreds of rounds a minute.

Proitest: Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School hold signs while waiting to board buses in Parkland, Florida (EPA)

Democrats attempted to get a bill to ban assault rifles and large-capacity magazines heard on the House floor on Tuesday but it was easily dismissed by Republicans, who dominate the chamber.

Rachel Catania, 15, a sophomore at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland said she got a lot of non-answers from the politicians she spoke with Tuesday.

Protest: Florida Capitol where students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School will speak with Florida state legislators (REUTERS)

"I know it's going to be hard, but I know we can do it," she said. "We're not going to be the school that got shot, we're going to be the school that got shot and made something happen. A change is going to happen."

The students planned to hold a rally Wednesday to put more pressure on the Legislature.

"I really think they are going to hear us out," said Chris Grady, a high school senior aboard the bus.

They also plan to meet Wednesday with top legislative leaders, including House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Senate President Joe Negron.