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Barack & Michelle Obama Tweet Praise for Marjory Stoneman School Shooting Gun Activists: 'We're Proud of You'

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Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images

Barack and Michelle Obama during an interview with Time Managing Editor Rick Stengel at the White House in Washington, D.C.

The former president says "we've got your backs."

Former Pres. Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama offered their strong support for the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida a week after the murder of 14 students and 3 teachers at  last Wednesday (Feb. 14).

Their comments came as the debate over amending the nation's gun laws continued to heat up on Thursday (Feb. 22), following a fiery gun rights speech by the NRA's President and signs from Pres. Trump that he might be willing to discuss some new gun legislation.

"Young people have helped lead all our great movements," wrote Pres. Obama, who was all-too familiar with the role of Consoler in Chief during his 8 years in the White House following mass shootings. While offering his condolences to the families of the murdered, Obama also repeatedly expressed frustration at the inability to pass new common sense gun legislation due to the stranglehold the NRA has on the majority of Republican lawmakers. "How inspiring to see it again in so many smart, fearless students standing up for their right to be safe; marching and organizing to remake the world as it should be," he wrote.

Obama's praise came the morning after some Stoneman Douglas students met with Pres. Trump at the White House, where they and some parents of murdered students urged the president to push for legislation that would end the tide of school shootings that include 18 already just this year.

Stoneman Douglas students also confronted Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio on Wednesday night (Feb. 21) during a CNN-sponsored town hall meeting, at which they urged him to raise the minimum age for purchasing a semi-automatic rifle like the military-style AR-15 used by last week's school shooter to 21.

The former President assured the preternaturally poised student activists that their calls for action are welcomed and supported. "We've been waiting for you," Obama ended his tweet. "And we've got your backs."

Former First Lady Michelle Obama also tweeted her support for the Marjory Stoneman survivors on Wednesday evening, saying that she is in "total awe of the extraordinary students in Florida. Like every moment for progress in our history, gun reform will take unyielding courage and endurance." She assured the students that she and Pres. Obama are firmly on their side. 

"@barackobama and I believe in you, we're proud of you, and we're behind you every step of the way," she wrote."

The encouraging tweets came amid a string of social media activity from Trump, who appeared to break with Republican orthodoxy by suggesting he was open to ending the sale of bump stocks more than five months after the after-market device was used by a gunman in Las Vegas to slaughter 58 music fans at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. Trump threw down the gauntlet for Congress to make progress on passing meaningful gun legislation.

The president also issued a series of tweets advocating for the arming of teachers with concealed weapons to combat "sicko" shooters, an idea that the president of the National Education Association said was not the answer. "We need solutions that will keep guns out of the hands of those who want to use them to massacre innocent children and educations. Arming teachers does nothing to prevent that," Lily Eskelsen Garcia told Education Week.

Trump also heaped praise on the "Great People and Great American Patriots" of the NRA, including President Wayne LaPierre, who gave a fiery speech to the CPAC convention on Thursday morning -- the gun -obbying group leader's first comments since the Parkland shooting -- in which he tore into what he called the "socialist" agenda he claims is intent on taking away Second Amendment gun rights.

"If they seize power," LaPierre said of the potential of democrats potentially taking over the House and Senate in the November midterm elections or regaining the White House in 2020, "our American freedoms could be lost and our country will be changed forever. The first to go will be the Second Amendment."

LaPierre also advocated for armed teachers in schools, repeating the same mantra the NRA offered after a school shooter killed 20 students and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, "to stop a bad guy with a gun, it takes a good guy with a gun." 

The Parkland students have also been lauded by former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who encouraged them to fight back against some of the criticism from conservative sources, some of whom have suggested that the grieving teens are paid "crisis actors."


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