A former student accused of last week's mass shooting in Florida has appeared in court for the second time.

Nikolas Cruz, who has been charged with 17 counts of murder, was attending a "status hearing" in Fort Lauderdale.

The 19-year-old allegedly opened gunfire at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine's Day.

Dressed in a red prison uniform and handcuffed, he kept his head bowed and stayed quiet during the hearing, which discussed how the documents would be sealed.

Judge Elizabeth Scherer said she was in favour of openness wherever possible. She maintained the decision made in another court to keep the defence motion documents sealed from public view.

Image:Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer listens to arguments in the Nikolas Cruz status hearing

It is understood Cruz has agreed to plead guilty if the death penalty is not pursued by prosecutors, but no decision has been made.

In America, status hearings are not part of the trial. The defendant must attend, and they sometimes will advise of the plea they wish to enter.

Cruz's family home was visited by police 39 times in seven years, according to documents seen by CNN last week.

His lawyer Melissa McNeill, told reporters on Thursday that he was "sad", "mournful" and "remorseful", adding that he was a "broken human being" who was aware of what was going on.

Emma Gonzalez speaks at a rally for gun control
Video:Shooting survivor questions Trump's NRA funding

The teenager has reportedly confessed to the shooting.

Among the dead were students at the school, a teacher and an American football coach.

His second court appearance comes as funerals are held for the victims, and protests petition for tighter gun control.

Earlier today, Donald Trump signalled his support for efforts to increase the regulation around gun ownership.

The US President talks with a trauma surgeon at Broward Health North Hospital
Image:The President met trauma surgeons at a local hospital over the weekened

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders revealed the President has spoken to a Democrat and a Republican about a bipartisan bill that would force states and federal agencies to report more frequently on offences that prohibit a person from buying a weapon.

"While discussions are ongoing and revisions are being considered, the President is supportive of efforts to improve the federal background check system," she said.

Thousands of people turned out for an anti-gun rally in Florida
Image:Thousands of people turned out for an anti-gun rally in Florida

The President's response to the tragedy has been met with anger. He tweeted that no child should feel unsafe at school, but several of the school's pupils criticised his affiliation with the National Rifle Association.

More from Florida School Shooting

He also criticised the FBI for spending "too long" looking into Russian collusion, allegedly missing the signals about Cruz before he carried out the shooting.

Florida governor Rick Scott said the FBI should release records about its investigation about a tip it received about worrying behaviour by Cruz.

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