Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) — “Hey, hey, ho, ho. The NRA has got to go,” several thousand students chanted loudly in front of the U.S. Capitol Wednesday demanding Congress pass gun control legislation.
Students from the Washington, D.C., area joined in the #ENOUGH! National School Walkout — a movement ignited after 17 students were murdered in the Parkland, Florida, high school shooting exactly one month ago.
Students held signs that read “Never again,” “Protect us, not guns” and “How many more?” on the Capitol’s West Front lawn.
“My message would be to please make a law to keep students or anyone that is mentally ill, from having a gun,” 13-year-old Amara Hill told ABC News.
“To start, we will not sit in classrooms with armed teachers,” said Matt Post, a 12th-grader and student board president of Montgomery County, Maryland, public schools. “We refuse to learn in fear. We reject turning our schools into prisons.”
Trump administration proposals call for trained teachers to be armed to help prevent another shooting like Parkland.
Lawmakers, including House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.; and Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill. joined students in support.
“I say to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle: No one’s political survival is more important than the survival of our children,” Pelosi said. “Let’s get the job done.”
Some lawmakers, including Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., sat down with the high school students to discuss gun control concerns.
“To all the #VA11 students walking out today in support of gun safety, I am proud of you and I am with you 100%. #NationalWalkoutDay,” Connolly tweeted.
The walkout was supposed to last for 17 minutes to mark the 17 Parkland lives lost, but the demonstration lasted much longer.
Although the students’ protest brought national attention to the gun control issue and gained attention from lawmakers, their fight for change is far from over.
A “March for our Lives” rally organized by survivors of the Parkland high school shooting in Washington, D.C., is planned for March 24.
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