A movement has begun in the United States, with students, parents and teachers indicating they won't stop until Congress takes action to curb gun violence.
Dozens of teenage students, as well as parents and educators, have held a ‘lie-in’ on the pavement outside the gates of the White House on Monday, and a multi-city march has been pencilled in for next month, as Americans say enough is enough.
The protestors are demanding President Donald Trump take action on gun control, following the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida on Valentine’s Day, in which 17 people lost their lives.
Lying down on the concrete, the activists crossed their arms across their chests to represent the victims from last week’s shooting. They also carried American flags, and held signs reading — “Am I next?” and “Is Congress or the NRA making our laws?”.
Emotions spilled over as the demonstrators began chanting, “Hey, hey NRA, how many kids did you kill today?”
Monday’s protest was organised by Whitney Bowen and Eleanor Nuechterlein, juniors at the Potomac School. They formed a group called Teens for Gun Reform and promoted the event through Facebook.
“By doing this, we will make a statement on the atrocities which have been committed due to the lack of gun control, and send a powerful message to our government that they must take action now,” a post from the group read.
In attendance was a 10-year-old boy named Leo, who echoed the thoughts of many when he said: “We’re protesting against people who are shooting at schools and killing innocent kids with guns that should be illegal.”
Enough is enough
This comes on the back of Democrat Rep. Ted Deutch’s calls for AR-15-style rifles to be made illegal.
The AR-15 or a variant of it, like the Smith & Wesson that the Florida gunman used, has been responsible for the huge death tolls of such massacres as the Las Vegas concert, the Texas church, the Orlando night club, and Sandy Hook.
Democrat lawmaker Ted Lieu has taken it a step further, saying the next step has to be a gun control debate in Congress.
“It makes no sense that someone can purchase assault rifles but not handguns,” he told CNN.
“It also makes no sense that the shooter could not have purchased a beer legally but could still have purchased all of these assault rifles, and that’s why we need to have gun reform.”
It also makes no sense that the shooter could not have purchased a beer legally but could still have purchased all of these assault rifles.
“I think we’re seeing an inflection point in American politics with the Parkland students speaking out, and the silent majority of Americans saying enough is enough, we need to have some common sense safety measures,” he added.
Donald Trump has stopped short of backing changes to gun ownership laws, but is “supportive” of tightening background checks.
‘You’re either with us or against us’
A larger protest, labelled ‘March for Our Lives’, is planned for March 24 in Washington and other cities. And nationwide walkouts are being organised on March 14 and April 20.
The effort is being organised in part by student survivors of the Florida massacre.
“My message for the people in office is: you’re either with us or against us. We are losing our lives while the adults are playing around,” Cameron Kasky, a junior at the Parkland school told CNN Sunday.