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Florida school shooting survivor gives fiery pro-gun rights speech at Denver summit

June 9, 2018 Updated: June 9, 2018 at 4:21 pm
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photo - Parkland, Fla., high school shooting survivor Kyle Kashuv will be speaking at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver on June 8. Image from a YouTube video.
Parkland, Fla., high school shooting survivor Kyle Kashuv will be speaking at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver on June 8. Image from a YouTube video. 

Kyle Kashuv believes in gun rights and the Second Amendment.

The shooting Feb. 14 at his high school in Parkland, Fla., in which a 19-year-old former student allegedly gunned down 14 students and three staff, hasn't changed that.

It's a position that sets him apart from some of the other students at his high school, such as Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg, who are promoting stricter gun controls in the wake of the mass killing. Kashuv, 17, was in a separate building at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School from where the gunman stalked his victims.

This weekend, he was in Denver for the Western Conservative Summit, where he spoke about making schools safer without restricting gun rights. He believes the solution to school shootings is to ensure that every school has metal detectors, armed guards and a single point of entry, though he advocates for multiple points of exit.

"It's ironic. Our courtrooms are protected by metal detectors and guns, our airports, even our elected officials. But our kids are not," he said.

Ninety-eight percent of school shootings end when the shooter is confronted by armed resistance, Kashuv said. Schools must equip and train on-site first responders, whether officers or teachers, because it takes law enforcement up to 15 minutes to respond to the first reports of a shooting, he added.

A school resource officer was at Marjory Stoneman on the day of the shooting and reportedly didn't engage the shooter. Kashuv called him a "coward."

Kashuv gave a fiery speech at the summit that emphasized his mistrust of the government. He started by recalling the shooting. He was in a fourth-period class when the first shots rang out. Students sat for two hours in the dark, he said.

But immediately after the shooting, the left mobilized to denounce the Second Amendment and vilify guns, he said. That prompted him to push back against what he saw as attacks on the Second Amendment.

It "provides the right to defend ourselves, but more importantly, it poses a deterrent to tyrannical governments, since the first thing a government does is to take away a citizen's right to bear arms, as has happened in China and Romania."

Neither of those countries has a constitutional right to bear arms. Both China and Romania currently allow individual ownership of weapons for hunting only.

Kashuv was followed later Saturday by National Rifle Association spokeswoman Dana Loesch, who reiterated the lobbying organization's view that failures by the school and law enforcement led to the shooting in Florida.

"There were things that led up to this," she told the audience.

She cited instances of people with guns stopping criminals, a favorite talking point of the NRA.

Gun-violence protesters gathered outside the Colorado Convention Center Saturday night. Loesch said she granted them their First Amendment rights, so they should grant the summit-goers their Second Amendment rights.

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