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Students Call For Congress To Act On Gun Violence On Capitol HIll


Today, tens of thousands of students across the country mark the one-month anniversary of the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Fla., with walkouts. Outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, several hundred young demonstrators were calling for action by lawmakers. NPR's Brakkton Booker reports.

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: Books, not bullets - books, not bullets.

BRAKKTON BOOKER, BYLINE: The frigid temperatures did not deter the group from gathering on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol today. People held signs that read protect kids, not guns and asked the question, why are you allowing us to be killed? Here's how one student from Albert Einstein High School in Kensington, Md., opened her remarks.


EMILY DOLOROLES: My name is Emily Doloroles. I'm going to start off with a request from you all. Raise your hand if you feel unsafe at school.

BOOKER: Countless hands go up. She says young people aren't going anywhere until lawmakers and other adults enact change.


EMILY: They don't understand why we want stricter background checks. They can't wrap their heads around the fact that teenagers all across America are taking charge and leading this movement.

BOOKER: Benjamin Kapit attends Georgetown Day School in Washington, D.C. He's a student filmmaker and has his video camera.

BENJAMIN KAPIT: I wanted to capture the events going on out here. It's a student uprising. We're demanding things from the government that they aren't willing to give us.

BOOKER: He says the National Rifle Association has too much power in politics, and that's why gun changes don't happen. Kapit hopes the presence of so many young people here at the U.S. Capitol and around the country will show elected officials that they have influence, too. Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal is a Democrat. He told the crowd that he has worked for 20 years to enact common sense gun law changes.


RICHARD BLUMENTHAL: I have never felt as close to victory as we are today.


BOOKER: Many of these young people vow to return in 10 days and join thousands of other students for a larger planned gathering in Washington on March 24. Brakkton Booker, NPR News, the Capitol. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Brakkton Booker is a National Desk reporter based in Washington, DC.
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