Thousands of Maryland high school students rallied at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday to call for stricter gun control laws following a deadly shooting at a South Florida high school last week.
The gathering on Capitol Hill came after high school students marched from the Maryland suburbs of Washington, in a demonstration aimed at putting pressure on lawmakers to address gun violence.
"NRA, not today," students chanted, referring to the National Rifle Association, the powerful gun rights organization.
One student held a sign reading, "Hey, NRA, how many kids did you kill today?" Another sign bore the hashtag "NeverAgain," according to videos of the protest posted on social media.
Scene from high schoolers rally for gun control happening at U.S. Capitol in D.C. right now pic.twitter.com/aIAKBJl74g— Mikaela Lefrak (@mikafrak) February 21, 2018
DC school students march to the US Capitol demanding action on gun control pic.twitter.com/VHZhvg3mja— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) February 21, 2018
The protest came a week after a gunman opened fire in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., near Fort Lauderdale, killing 17 people and injuring 14 others.
The accused shooter was identified as 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, a former student at the school, who had been expelled for disciplinary reasons. Cruz allegedly carried out the shooting with an AR-15, an assault-style rifle that, according to law enforcement, he had purchased legally from a dealer in nearby Coral Springs roughly a year ago.
The attack reignited a national debate over gun control and access to assault-style weapons. Stoneman Douglas students have emerged as some of the most vocal advocates of tighter gun restrictions.
The protest at the Capitol on Wednesday is one among several student demonstrations calling for new gun control laws. On Tuesday, students at a Florida high school staged a walkout and marched to Stoneman Douglas to call for action.
A national school walkout is also planned for March 14, and students and activists are expected to descend on cities across the country on March 24 for "March for Our lives."
Facing mounting pressure, President TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger says Trump 'winning' because so many Republicans 'have remained silent' Our remote warfare counterterrorism strategy is more risk than reward Far-right rally draws small crowd, large police presence at Capitol MORE announced Tuesday that he had directed the Justice Department to propose new regulations banning so-called bump stocks, devices that can be used to modify certain guns to make them fire more rapidly.