The horrendous events that occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, with the killing of 17 people, have energized our youngsters to take action. It is beyond belief that the perpetrator, Nikolas Cruz, a young man who showed signs of being mentally unstable and was tagged as dangerous, was able to purchase an assault weapon. The forthcoming nationwide demonstrations in March will, hopefully, help to bring about common-sense gun control laws.

I believe there are three major steps that may help these youngsters bring about change in our weapons laws:

n Continue to demonstrate and speak against lawmakers who support and accept money from the National Rifle Association. (The Florida House of Representatives recently refused to debate the banning of assault weapons.)

n Register to vote. (A 17-year-old is able to vote in a primary if he or she will turn 18 by the general election.)

n Talk to your parents, especially if they are gun owners. (You might possibly change their thinking about gun ownership and the use of assault weapons.)

Through their actions, our teenagers have shown that they have the maturity, the determination and the courage to bring about change.

Petros Panagakos

Portland