In his first new episode in more than a week, Stephen Colbert praised the students of Stoneman Douglas High School, saying they give him “hope.”

During Tuesday’s Late Show, the host reflected on last week’s shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 dead. “Like you, I was sickened and heartbroken, not only by the attack and the loss of innocent life, but by what I feared would be the complete lack of action by our leaders,” Colbert said. “But there is one group that does give me hope that we can do something to protect the children, and sadly, it’s the children.”

After criticizing Florida Senator Marco Rubio’s response and declaring, “The adults aren’t cutting it anymore,” Colbert spoke highly of the Stoneman Douglas students who have been passionately calling for stricter gun control laws. Their efforts brought them to Tallahassee on Tuesday, where they hoped lawmakers would take up a ban on assault weapons, but the measure was voted down.

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

Watch the video above for more. The Late Show airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. ET on CBS.

The Late Show With Stephen Colbert
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