March for Our Lives to leave empty seats for lawmakers at town halls

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Organizers affiliated with the “March For Our Lives” movement against gun violence will leave empty seats for lawmakers of both parties who don’t attend town hall events in their districts on Saturday.

A list of scheduled events on, which partnered with the “March For Our Lives” for Saturday’s “Town Halls for Our Lives” series of events, denotes which invited lawmakers will actually attend today’s events and which lawmakers will not.


More than 100 events are scheduled in 34 states on Saturday. More than 70 will be held in GOP districts, while about 30 will be held in Democratic districts, ABC News reports.

Many lawmakers from both parties will attend Saturday’s events around the country, including Reps. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) and many others. Still more agreed to “office hours” with activists to hear concerns from constituents with staff members in a less public setting.

Several senators are also holding town halls on Saturday, though no Republicans were on the organization’s list.

Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey (D), Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine (D) and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) were all scheduled to hold events Saturday.

A number of lawmakers from both parties, however, will be represented instead by empty chairs at the events, meant to symbolize the lawmakers’ absence from the conversation.

Among the lawmakers targeted for the “empty chair town halls” include House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Mass.), Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), and Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas).

In a statement to The Hill, a representative for McCaskill’s office confirmed that while lists McCaskill as an “empty chair,” the senator will send a staff member to answer questions at an event in St. Louis on Saturday.

About 121 lawmakers are scheduled to miss the town hall events in their district, the website reports.

Students from Parkland, Fla., have rallied around the cause of stopping gun violence through increased gun control after a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February killed 17 people. Students organized the “March for Our Lives” rally held in Washington, D.C., in March. Numerous corresponding events were held simultaneously in other cities and countries.

-Updated 12:42 p.m.

Tags Bernie Sanders Claire McCaskill Ed Markey Eric Swalwell Gun control gun violence Joe Kennedy Lamar Smith March For Our Lives Matt Gaetz Parkland Florida school shooting Paul Ryan Ro Khanna Sean Duffy Tim Kaine town halls

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