AUGUSTA – Speaker Sara Gideon released this statement following the news of the horrific shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida:

“The school shooting in Florida is tragic and heartbreaking. There aren’t words to express how events like this shake me to my core. We ask ourselves ‘when is this going to happen in my community’. Well, it already has. Because these are our communities. These are our kids. We cannot tolerate it for one minute longer.

No kid should head to their school with the fear of being shot. No person struggling with mental health issues or a violent history should have a way around a background check. Those dealing with mental health issues require treatment.

Politicians have failed our children by by not acting on issues related to improving background checks, restricting access to assault weapons and high-capacity clips and, finally, funding mental health services adequately. And that failure has led to too many days like today, where we grieve deeply and wonder why we haven’t done more.

So today, I plead with all of my colleagues, and elected officials across the country, to finally say enough is enough. This is our responsibility. We must take serious action to reduce gun violence.”