MIAMI — In his strongest comments yet about the subject, Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo on Thursday called for lawmakers to pass tougher legislation on gun sales.
“In a perfect world, make it stricter. Make background checks a little harder to get these guns,’’ Rizzo said before the Cubs’ opener against the Marlins. ‘‘I think pretty much the entire nation can agree on that.’’
As he spoke, Rizzo wore a T-shirt bearing the colors and logo of his alma mater, Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 were killed last month by a former student using an assault rifle.
‘‘There are a number of other things,’’ said Rizzo, who declined to discuss his specific views on the gun-control debate when asked during spring training. ‘‘My biggest thing is that if you can make it harder to get guns, hopefully it eliminates a little bit of the problem.’’
Students at the school in Parkland, Florida, about 50 miles from Miami, have spoken out strongly for the same kind of measures Rizzo talked about Thursday. Their voices and actions have inspired a national movement in the last six weeks that included a day in which students across the country walked out of classrooms and rallies last weekend across the United States.
‘‘I think it’s amazing,’’ Rizzo said. ‘‘These kids are standing up for what they believe in. They’re motivating everyone to go out there and register to vote. And they’re holding the throttle down on all these politicians. They’re holding them accountable for what they believe in. It’s just unbelievable how the entire nation is rallying around Stoneman Douglas High School.’’
Rizzo, who arranged for an extra day off ahead of the opener, went to a Stoneman Douglas baseball game Tuesday. On Friday, in cooperation with Marlins, Rizzo will be a part of hosting three families who lost loved ones in the shooting and a survivor he visited in the hospital last month. They will be part of four ceremonial first pitches.
‘‘It’ll be an emotional weekend for me,’’ he said. ‘‘But games still go on. I’m here to play.’’
Rizzo was hit by a pitch and scored in the first inning and hit a solo home run in the second in the Cubs’ Opening Day victory.