Students in New York City and across the country are tired of Congress’ inaction on gun control.
“We’re tired of the drills, tired of the warnings, of being told everything’s going to be OK,” said Cate Whitman, 17, who attends Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School on the Upper West Side.
Whitman is one of the organizers with the Women’s March Youth EMPOWER who is planning walkouts on March 14 to call on Congress to pass gun control legislation. The students plan to leave their school at 10 a.m. for 17 minutes, in honor of the 17 people killed in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14.
Students from the Florida school called for limits to sales of semiautomatic AR-15 assault-style rifles, the type of gun used by the accused shooter Nikolas Cruz, Wednesday at a rally in Tallahassee.
The students in New York and other states will echo their demands and others during the planned walkouts. So far in New York City, groups from at least eight schools plan to participate, according to the Women’s March website.
“We feel like our lives are at risk going to school in the morning,” Whitman said. “As a young person, our job should be going to school and getting an education.”
Whitman called out legislators who tweeted about their “thoughts and prayers” after the recent shooting.
“It’s almost a joke at this point,” she said. “Thoughts and prayers are nice, but it’s not going to make any change.”
Congress has failed to pass any type of gun control legislation in recent years, despite calls for change after several mass shootings.
President Donald Trump said Tuesday his administration would take steps to ban bump stocks, an accessory that enables a rifle to shoot hundreds of rounds a minute and was used by the shooter who killed 58 people at a Las Vegas outdoor concert in October.
A spokeswoman said the administration also was open to the idea of setting national age limits on sales of assault rifles.
Students also are planning a “March for Our Lives” in Washington and New York City on March 24.