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LeBron James on Parkland shooting: 'How is it possible that we can have minors buy a gun?'

When asked about the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland in which 17 people were killed, former Miami Heat star LeBron James had one question:

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“How is it possible that we can have minors go buy a gun?”

Nikolas Cruz, accused of the killings, is actually 19 and legally bought the AR-15 semiautomatic weapon that was used during the Feb. 14 incident. Still, James, the Cavaliers’ superstar, and other players with ties to South Florida could not make sense of the tragedy.

The players were asked about the shooting during Saturday’s media day for the NBA All-Star Weekend.

“We have a kid who wasn’t legally unable (sic) to buy a beer at a bar, but he can go buy an AR-15?” James said “It doesn’t make sense. I’m not saying it should be legal for him to go buy beer. But how is it possible that we can have minors go buy a gun?”

Heat guard Wayne Ellington, who was fourth in Saturday’s 3-point contest, said the nation has to “come together” to makes changes so these mass shootings do not continue to occur. The shooting was the ninth deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, five of those coming in the last six years.

WATCH: Florida school shooting survivor slams politicians, NRA in emotional speech

“I was at a loss for words,” Ellington said. “I couldn’t understand what’s going on, why (this) is going on in the world. Do we need to change? These young people doing unexplainable things, hurting each other and hurting innocent people it’s so unfortunate and sad, it’s something I don’t know how we can change but it’s something we need to come together and figure out.”

John Collins, the Atlanta Hawks rookie from Palm Beach County, was calling home to try to understand what was happening.

“It was a real shock to me,” said Collins, who played in Friday’s Rising Stars Challenge. “Obviously, I never expected something like that to happen. I know a couple of people that were affected by that tragedy. You got to say your prayers and sending your condolences and thoughts to the victims.”

What are the worst school shootings in modern US history?

James, though, was the most outspoken in calling for gun control.

“We’ve seen these schools and these tragedies happen in America and there’s been no change to gun control,” James said. “I don’t have the answer to this. But we have to do something about it. We’re all sending our kids to school, right? We drop them off at 8 o’clock. At 3:15 they’re going to be ready to get picked up. Either we’re picking them or someone in our family is picking them up or they have to take a bus or there’s aftercare and they stay until 5. If they have study hall they stay until 5:30 or whatever. But we all feel like our kids are going to return, right?

“To the families in Parkland, down in Broward County, it’s sad and I’m sorry and it’s just a tragedy and I hope we don’t continue to see this because it’s too many in the last 10 years with guns.”

James, meanwhile, has been embroiled in a social media debate with Fox News commentator Laura Ingraham, who said that athletes like James should "keep the political commentary to yourself.”

“Or as someone once said, 'Shut up and dribble,’” Ingraham said.

Ingraham was referencing an interview that James and Kevin Durant taped in January with ESPN’s Cari Champion for a show called “Uninterrupted.” The two NBA stars spoke about the political climate in the United States and had harsh criticism for President Donald Trump, ESPN reported.

Durant, in an interview with USA Today on Friday, said Ingraham's comments were "racist." 

“That was definitely an ignorant comment (by Ingraham). I do play basketball, but I am a civilian and I am a citizen of the United States, so my voice is just as loud as hers, I think -- or even louder.”

James, on his Instagram account, posted a photo of a neon sign that read “I am more than an athlete.”

Ingraham released a statement Saturday defending her comments, ESPN reported.

"In 2003, I wrote a New York Times bestseller called 'Shut Up & Sing,' in which I criticized celebrities like the Dixie Chicks and Barbra Streisand, who were trashing then-President George W. Bush. I have used a variation of that title for more than 15 years to respond to performers who sound off on politics,” Ingraham wrote. “If pro athletes and entertainers want to freelance as political pundits, then they should not be surprised when they're called out for insulting politicians. There was no racial intent in my remarks -- false, defamatory charges of racism are a transparent attempt to immunize entertainment and sports elites from scrutiny and criticism."

Third-graders in Missouri selling raffle tickets for AR-15 weapon

Selling raffle tickets to benefit an athletic team is not new, but having an AR-15 semiautomatic weapon as the prize is drawing heavy criticism in the wake of the shooting at a Florida high school that killed 17 and injured dozens, The Kansas City Star reported.

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Third-graders in the southern Missouri city of Neosho were selling the tickets to benefit their traveling baseball team. Levi Patterson, the coach of a 9-and-under team in Neosho, said the idea was conceived before the Feb. 14 shooting at Parkland High School in South Florida, the Star reported.

The father of one of the players offered the weapon for the raffle. 

Patterson told the Star that he considered changing the prize after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, but decided to “turn it into a positive thing.”

The post, which has since been removed by Facebook, showed a weapon next to the mascot logo of South Elementary School in Neosho. 

The raffle is not affiliated with the Neosho School District, and the winner must pass a background check before receiving the gun, the Star reported.

“Are you all tone deaf?” Dan Weaver wrote in a Facebook post on Patterson’s page. “AR15 kills seventeen so you raffle a gun for child sports? Lord, people wake the hell up. Justify all you want but you are wrong, period.”

Patterson answered the post, noting that “gun raffles have been going on for years. Evil has and will always exist. Our hearts break for those involved, and we do not take that lightly.”

The Star originally linked to the exchange, but the link is no longer active.

Patterson told the Star that he understands the criticism, which has been fierce.

>> Florida school shooting: How difficult is it to purchase a gun in Florida?

“I applaud them for standing up for what they believe in. I just think they have feelings to this specific type of gun (that are) different than people around here do,” he said.

Tyler Tannahill of Kansas, who is running for Congress, was criticize this week for offering an AR-15 giveaway as part of his campaign, the Star reported.

Patterson stressed that the baseball players, who range in age from 7 to 9, are under no obligation to sell the raffle tickets.

“We appreciate your ‘concern’ but please understand, we are not, have not, and will not force one of our boys to sell raffle tickets for the Black Rain AR15 Spec 15, if they are uncomfortable doing so,” he wrote on Facebook.

John Kasich rips Congress, urges 'common-sense gun laws'

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who signed laws making it legal to carry concealed weapons at daycare facilities and college campuses, said he has “no confidence” Congress will approve what he called “common-sense gun laws” in the wake of a mass shooting last week at a Florida high school.

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During an interview Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Kasich, who earned the endorsement of the National Rifle Association during his 2014 re-election campaign, indicated he would support “reasonable things,” such as full background checks for people buying guns and banning what are known as bump stocks, which allow a semi-automatic weapon to fire like an automatic weapon.

“You’re never going to fix all of this,” Kasich said. “But common-sense gun laws make sense.”

In a major reversal, Kasich suggested he might support a ban on an the sale of AR-15 semiautomatic weapons like the one used in the Florida attack. Kasich said, “If all of a sudden you couldn’t buy an AR-15, what would you lose? Would you feel as though your Second Amendment rights would be eroded because you couldn’t buy a God-darned AR-15?”

“These are the things that have to be looked at and action has to happen,” Kasich said.

In 1994 as a member of Congress, Kasich voted to ban the production and sale of 19 semi-automatic assault weapons. But when he ran for president in 2016, Kasich called the ban “superfluous and we don’t need laws that are superfluous. It didn’t have any impact.”

>> Florida school shooting: What we know about the victims

The ban on the sale of semiautomatic weapons expired in 2004 when Congress failed to renew it.

Kasich said he has formed a committee “on both sides of the issue” in Ohio to “look at everything” about improving gun safety. Neither Kasich nor his aides have said who is on the committee, but he said he was “hopeful” they would produce recommendations.

“If they don’t produce anything, I’ll put my own stuff out,” Kasich said.

David Pepper, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, said he was “glad” Kasich is on national TV and “speaking out” on guns.

“Hopefully he’s got some ability to work with the statehouse to find solutions and roll back some of the worst pieces of legislation they pushed through in the last seven years,” Pepper said.

‘Black Panther’ enjoys record weekend at box office

Moviegoers have been flocking to theaters this weekend to see Black Panther, shattering records with $192 million for the three-day weekend and a possible gross of $218 million for the four-day Presidents Day weekend, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

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The film by Marvel and Disney clinched the fifth-largest domestic opening of all time, Variety reported. With estimates of $169 million from international markets, the film, which stars Chadwick Boseman and was directed by Ryan Coogler, has an estimated global debut grossing more than $361 million through Sunday, Variety reported.

>> 2 kids dressed as ‘tall man’ unable to gain admission to ‘Black Panther’

“Black Panther” is unprecedented among movies since it features a nearly all-black cast in a big-budget movie, according to the Reporter. It also earned a 97 rating on the Rotten Tomatoes website. The movie also broke the record for the largest Presidents Day weekend, cruising past the $152 million set in 2016 by “Deadpool,” Variety reported.

Remembering Harry Caray 20 years after his death

It’s hard to believe that the joyous voice of the Chicago Cubs was silenced 20 years ago today.

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Broadcaster Harry Caray, who was the play-by-play man for the Cubs from 1982 to 1997, died on Feb. 18, 1998, in Rancho Mirage, California. He was 83, although at the time of his death, he was believed to be 78.

Caray had collapsed at his restaurant in Palm Springs four days earlier.

Before joining the Cubs. Caray called games for the St. Louis Cardinals (1945-1969), Oakland Athletics (1970) and Chicago White Sox (1971-1981).

In addition to his signature call of “Holy, Cow!” Caray was famous for his off-key, passionate rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” during the seventh-inning stretch.

Since baseball players are returning to Florida and Arizona for spring training, it’s only appropriate to hear Caray singing one more time. Here is a video from the last Cubs home game of 1997, which was his final appearance at Wrigley Field:

No charge: JetBlue offers to fly Parkland victims' families to South Florida

JetBlue is offering to fly families of victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High shooting free to the South Florida area.

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The company announced that it would fly families free via its Family Assistance Center, and would also provide access to free ground transportation with Lyft.

Last Wednesday, 17 people were killed Wednesday by a 19-year-old gunman.

“This week’s events are felt by all of our 21,000 crewmembers, many of whom live in, work from and travel through the Broward County area,” airline officials said in a statement. “We want to do our part to help the community and support South Florida through this difficult time.”

>> Photos: Nation mourns after Florida school shooting

In addition, the airline and the Florida Panthers hockey team will hold a blood drive at the BB&T Center in Sunrise on Thursday from noon to 7 p.m.

Stoneman Douglas High School will reopen Feb. 22 to staff

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High Schoolwhere 17 people were killed Wednesday by a gunman, will reopen Thursday, according to a statement from Broward County Public Schools.

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Only staff members will be allowed back on the sprawling campus in northwest Broward County. There is no mention in the statement when students will be permitted to return.

The school remains a crime scene and will be closed through Wednesday.

Nikolas Cruz, 19, a former student at the school, is facing 17 first-degree murder counts after he confessed to shooting 14 students and three staff members around 2:30 p.m.

Pennsylvania teen rescued from wind caves

A Pennsylvania teen who was trapped inside wind caves in Lancaster County was rescued after eight hours, WHTM reported Sunday.

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Dispatchers said the 15-year-old boy, who was with a group of friends and adults, became trapped about 250 feet into the wind caves in Martic Township around 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Lancaster Online reported.

Tony Williams, a spokesman for the Rawlinsville Volunteer Fire Company, said the boy was rescued at 1:30 a.m. Sunday. Williams said access to retrieve the boy was limited, and the effort was complicated by the chilly weather.

“The access back to the scene is probably about a 20 minute walk on a good day but with the snow and the mud it is twice as bad,” Williams told WHTM.

Williams said it took 45 minutes to move the boy to the cave entrance, Lancaster Online reported. He was examined by a doctor and then was taken to a hospital for a full evaluation, Williams said.

The boy’s name was not released. His father, who was on the scene, declined to speak with reporters, Lancaster Online reported.

Wind caves are natural formations that reach back hundreds of feet. The ones in Lancaster County are among the largest tectonic caves in the eastern United States, Lancaster Online reported.

 

Florida sheriff to politicians who don't support gun control: 'You will not get re-elected'

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel blasted politicians after a gunman killed 17 people at a Parkland, Florida, high school, saying that if gun laws don’t change, “you will not get re-elected in Broward County.”

>> WATCH: Florida school shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez slams politicians, NRA in emotional speech

According to the Huffington Post, while speaking at a vigil in Parkland for the victims of the shooting, Israel said, “If you’re an elected official, and you want to keep things the way they are ― if you want to keep gun laws as they are now ― you will not get re-elected in Broward County.”

>> Click here to watch

The vigil was attended by thousands at an amphitheater that was lit by candles and had 17 4-foot angels – one for each of the victims who was killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

>> On Rare.us: 'Thoughts and prayers' check raises eyebrows on social media after the Florida shooting

Last week, Israel called on lawmakers to allow law enforcement officers to involuntarily detain people who post questionable and disturbing content on social media.

“We need to have the power to take that person and bring them before mental health professionals at that particular time, involuntarily, and have them examined,” he saidthe Huffington Post reported. “People are going to be rightfully concerned about their rights ― as am I. But what about these students? What about the rights of young kids who go to schools?”

>> PHOTOS: Remembering Parkland, Florida, school shooting victims

He added that he wishes law enforcement officials could act “if they see something on social media, if they see graphic pictures of rifles and blood and gore and guns and bombs, if they see something, horrific language, if they see a person talking about ‘I want to grow up to be a serial killer.’”

Democrats in Congress are already calling for gun control while Republicans are saying that it’s too soon to talk about it.

>> Classmate of Nikolas Cruz: ‘No one has ever been a friend to him’

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said during a press conference Thursday that we need to think less about fighting “each other politically” in the wake of the shooting.

“This is one of those moments where we just need to step back and count our blessings,” he said Thursday at a news conference, according to CNN. “We need to think less about taking sides and fighting each other politically, and just pulling together. This House, and the whole country, stands with the Parkland community.”

>> Florida school shooting timeline: Seven minutes, three floors and 17 dead

Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., tweeted that Congress should vote on measures to implement “universal background checks, a ban on military-style weapons and a prohibition of those on the terror watchlist from purchasing firearms.”

>> Read more trending news 

Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat, said Congress will have “another round” of this debate, but admitted that it’s hard to get any sort of gun legislation passed.

Read more here.

Walkouts planned in March in aftermath of Parkland shooting

Support continued to grow over the weekend for a planned March 14 National School Walkout protest in the aftermath of the Valentine’s Day school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead. Meanwhile, students at the South Florida school planned a separate walkout on March 24, ABC News reported.

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Organizers of the Women’s March announced the plans for a 17-minute walkout beginning at 10 a.m. on March 14, which will mark the one-month anniversary of the shooting. The protest is aimed at urging Congress to enact laws that will protect schools from gun violence.

“Students and staff have the right to teach and learn in an environment free from the worry of being gunned down in their classrooms or on their way home from school,” a message on the group’s website read Saturday. “Parents have the right to send their kids to school in the mornings and see them home alive at the end of the day. We are not safe at school. We are not safe in our cities and towns. Congress must take meaningful action to keep us safe and pass federal gun reform legislation that address the public health crisis of gun violence.”

Support for the walkout, announced Friday, increased over the weekend on social media, with parents and teachers around the country vowing to participate, and actresses like Justine Bateman, Amber Tamblyn and Piper Perabo along with W. Kamau Bell of CNN all offering their support to the planned protest.

Meanwhile, some of the surviving students at Stoneman Douglas High School announced a walkout for March 24, called March for Our Lives, ABC News reported.

“People keep asking us, what about the Stoneman Douglas shooting is going to be different, because this has happened before and change hasn't come?” Cameron Kasky, an 11th-grader told ABC News. “This is it.”

Kasky was interviewed with four of his classmates -- Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg, Alex Wind and Jaclyn Corin.

“Any politician on either side who is taking money from the NRA is responsible for events like this,” Kasky told ABC News. “At the end of the day, the NRA is fostering and promoting gun this gun culture.”

A separate walkout was scheduled for April 20 in honor of the victims of the shooting nearly two decades ago that left 13 people dead at Columbine High School in Colorado.

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