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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

Exclusive: White House meeting with members of Problem Solvers Caucus

Members of the Problem Solvers Caucus discuss the COVID-19 relief bill in December. Photo: Oliver Contreras/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Top White House officials will meet Wednesday with a bipartisan coalition of House lawmakers as the administration tries to enlist moderates to support the president's infrastructure proposal.

Why it matters: The meeting is something of an olive branch after President Biden's team courted groups of progressives to back the $2.2 trillion package.

1 hour ago - Health

The new vaccine threat is fear itself

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The FDA’s decision to pause the use of Johnson & Johnson's coronavirus vaccine has set off a chain reaction of fear — about the safety of the vaccine, and about whether the FDA is overreacting — that's causing unnecessary drama just as the vaccine effort is finally picking up speed.

The big picture: Throughout the pandemic, the public and the media, and sometimes even regulators, have struggled to keep risks in perspective — to acknowledge them without exaggerating them, and to avoid downplaying them because other people will exaggerate them.

Cryptocurrency giant Coinbase heads to Wall Street

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Coinbase, the country's largest cryptocurrency exchange, is expected to go public today at what could be a valuation north of $100 billion.

Why it matters: This gives crypto a Wall Street seal of legitimacy, after an early existence marred by ties to illicit goods.