Days after 17 lives were lost in the horrific mass shooting inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Florida's senior U.S. senator did not hold back in his desire for a change in gun laws while visiting the campus Friday.
Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson spoke with reports shortly after visiting the Parkland school, saying it was "time to start a serious effort" to pass legislation regarding the hotly contested issue.
"The fact that you have an 18-year-old can at the age of 18 purchase an AR-15, which has the same caliber as an AK-47, it's an assault weapon," Nelson said.
Nelson mentioned the other mass shootings that have occurred in Florida: the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando that killed 49 people in June 2016 and the Fort Lauderdale airport shooting in 2017 that claimed six lives.
"Maybe this will be the turning point. Maybe the students speaking out as boldly as they have, maybe the parents crying out and speaking as boldly as they have...in fact, enough is enough."
Nelson mentioned it would take 60 votes to get a debate on gun control legislation on the Senate floor - meaning at least 11 Republican senators would have to join all of the Democrats currently in that chamber.
"You're looking at someone who supports the second amendment," Nelson said, adding he has been around guns since he was a child and is an avid hunter. "AR-15s are not for hunting, they're for killing.
Florida's other Senator, Marco Rubio, is also scheduled to visit the area on Friday, while President Donald Trump will be flying to Florida on Friday as well.
Plans had already been announced for Trump to spend the weekend at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach County, about 45 minutes north of Parkland, with the president scheduled to arrive in the afternoon.
Trump tweeted Friday morning that he was leaving to visit with "some of the bravest people on Earth - but people whose lives have been totally shattered," but it is unknown when and where that meeting will take place - saying in an address Thursday that he was making plans to visit Parkland.
"What I would say to the President is please change your position on assault weapons," Nelson said.
Rubio said on Thursday it was legitimate for Congress to debate how to respond to the shooting that killed 17 people and injured nine more, but said lawmakers must acknowledge their power is limited.
“If someone has decided, ‘I’m going to commit this crime,’ they will find a way to get the gun to do it,” Rubio said Thursday on the Senate floor.
“I think it’s also wrong to say that there is nothing we can do,” Rubio added. “This is hard, but we need to do it.”
U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, a Democrat whose district includes Parkland, has been in the area since Wednesday - as has Republican Gov. Rick Scott and the state's attorney general, Pam Bondi.