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Ryan Petty and Lori Alhadeff, whose two 14-year-old daughters were killed during the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Sixteen parents and other relatives of the 17 students and teachers killed during the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre launched a national organization Thursday with the goal of turning their tragedy into a movement to champion bipartisan school safety measures.

"We really wished we didn't have to do this. Any of these families involved would give anything to be able to go and turn the clock back. ... We know this is a long haul. There's no quick solution. We understand that it's going to take all Americans to come together to try and solve the uniquely American problem. "
— Tony Montalto, who lost his daughter, Gina, told Axios

The details: The group, Stand with Parkland, will push for “practical” public safety policies in three key areas: school safety enhancements, mental health screening and support programs, and responsible firearms ownership.

  • Montalto and April Schentrup, whose daughter Carmen was killed, told Axios the group is not against firearms and say there's an urgent need for reforms to eradicate the "epidemic" of mass school shootings.

The backdrop: Just days after the shooting, some of the relatives successfully lobbied lawmakers in Florida, who later passed the "Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act" — a comprehensive package of measures that made it harder for certain people to access guns and changed the way state agencies interact with schools. Now, they're seeking to bolster their local activism and work with state and federal policy makers.

  • Their national campaign comes weeks after March for Our Lives, led by students who survived the shooting, announced a nationwide bus tour to register young voters ahead of this year's midterms.

The bottom line: Both Montalto and Schentrup repeatedly emphasized a willingness to seek common ground — even incremental steps — on an increasingly polarized issue to win over support from both sides of the political spectrum.

Editor's note: This story originally stated that 15 Parkland parents and relatives were a part of the group. An additional relative has joined since publication, bringing the total to 16.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Sports

Swimmer Chase Kalisz first American to win Olympics gold medal

Chase Kalisz of Team United States celebrates after winning the Men's 400m Individual Medley Final on day two of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo, Japan. Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images

Swimmer Chase Kalisz became on Sunday the first Team USA Olympian to win gold at the Tokyo Games.

The big picture: The Rio 2016 silver medalist's winning time in the men's 400 meters Individual Medley Final was 4 minutes 9.42 seconds. His teammate Jay Litherland took silver .86 seconds later.

California's largest wildfire razes homes as 88 huge blazes burn in U.S.

Firefighters on the scene as dozens of homes burn during the Dixie Fire in the Indian Falls neighborhood of unincorporated Plumas County, California, on July 24. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

Flames from California's biggest wildfire were engulfing homes in the state's north overnight — one of 88 large blazes raging in the U.S.

Driving the news: The Dixie Fire, which erupted July 14 near the origin of the deadly 2018 Camp Fire in Butte County, was tearing through the community of Indian Falls in the neighboring Plumas County, per AP.

Golfer Bryson DeChambeau will miss Olympics after testing positive for COVID

Bryson DeChambeau of the United States on the 18th tee during Day Two of the 149th Open at Royal St George’s Golf Club on July 16 in Sandwich, England. Photo: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Bryson DeChambeau has tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss the Tokyo Olympic Games, USA Golf announced late Saturday.

What he's saying: "I am deeply disappointed not to be able to compete in the Olympics for Team USA," DeChambeau said in a statement.