Stephen Colbert hosts The Late Show on Jan. 30, 2018.
Scott Kowalchyk—CBS/Getty Images
By Eli Meixler
February 21, 2018

The Late Show host Stephen Colbert has praised the student survivors of the Florida school shooting for speaking out and demanding stricter gun control legislation. Colbert said the teenagers’ energy gives him “hope” when “the adults aren’t cutting it anymore.”

“There is one group that does give me hope that we can do something to protect the children and sadly it’s the children,” Colbert said during his opening monologue Tuesday. “These students saw their leaders doing nothing and said ‘hold my root beer.’”

In the wake of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that killed 17 people last week, many students have spoken out about the state of America’s gun violence, calling on politicians to strengthen current gun control laws to prevent another mass shooting. Students traveled to the state capital Tuesday to urge representatives to support a ban on assault rifles, like the AR-15 wielded by suspected Parkland gunman Nikolas Cruz, while a ‘March for Our Lives’ demonstration is planned for Washington, D.C. next month.

“I hope these kids don’t give up because this is their lives and their future,” Colbert said. “Someone else might be in power but this country belongs to them. And there is reason for hope.”

Write to Eli Meixler at eli.meixler@time.com.

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