Democrats leave Capitol to join student gun protest

Democratic leaders in the House and Senate exited the Capitol on Wednesday to march with and speak to students protesting gun violence to mark one month since the Parkland, Fla., school shooting.

Senior members of Democratic leadership joined other lawmakers from the House and Senate on Capitol Hill as thousands of students marched while others around the country walked out of classes or staged other protests.

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Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump, GOP regain edge in Kavanaugh battle READ: President Trump’s exclusive interview with Hill.TV The Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump slams Sessions in exclusive Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh accuser wants FBI investigation MORE (N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiDems see Kavanaugh saga as playing to their advantage Democrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her Sinema, Fitzpatrick call for long-term extension of Violence Against Women Act MORE (Calif.) both spoke to the demonstrators, while other Democrats such as Sen. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Rep. Ted DeutchTheodore (Ted) Eliot DeutchHouse panels set up to probe indicted GOP Reps. Collins, Hunter Ivanka Trump on mass shooting: 'Our hearts are with Jacksonville' Top Ethics Dem calls for Nielsen to resign MORE (Fla.) and Rep. Keith EllisonKeith Maurice EllisonSpicer: Press have 'a personal animus' against Trump administration Ellison grilled about abuse allegations at Minnesota AG debate Sexual assault is not a game — stop using women to score political points MORE (Minn.) were spotted in the crowd.

"[We are] representing in Congress the students who have sacrificed so much, spoken so eloquently, commanded the attention of the nation," Pelosi told the crowd. "We are all moved by your eloquence and fearless insistence on action to prevent gun violence."

"Don't give up the fight! We will win," added Schumer.

Video captured by BuzzFeed news showed dozens of Democratic lawmakers and staff members walking down the steps of the Capitol to join the protest in the "Congressional Solidarity Walkout."

A large crowd of students surrounded progressive Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate Ben & Jerry’s co-founders announce effort to help 7 Dem House challengers Dems look to Gillum, Abrams for pathway to victory in tough states MORE (I-Vt.), whose 2016 presidential campaign was buoyed by support from younger voters. Sanders, speaking through a megaphone, thanked the students for their protest and declared that student protesters were "leading the nation" in the conversation on gun violence.

"All across this country, people are sick and tired of gun violence, and the time is now for all of us together to stand up," Sanders said.

Similar crowds of students clustered around Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenDemocrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her More Massachusetts Voters Prefer Deval Patrick for President than Elizabeth Warren Trump's trade war — firing all cannons or closing the portholes? MORE (D-Mass.), who posted photos on Twitter of eager students looking for a selfie.

"These kids are leading the charge against gun violence — and I’m proud to be here fighting alongside them," Warren wrote on Twitter.

The protest from student activists and Democrats comes exactly one month after 17 students and faculty were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. The suspected gunman was allegedly armed with an AR-15 rifle.

The White House announced its own plan to reduce gun violence on Sunday, but it backs away from two proposals President TrumpDonald John TrumpGrassley: Dems 'withheld information' on new Kavanaugh allegation Health advocates decry funding transfer over migrant children Groups plan mass walkout in support of Kavanaugh accuser MORE had previously indicated he'd support: Universal background checks and raising the age requirement for rifle purchases.

On Monday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended the administration from reporters who questioned whether Trump had "chickened out" in the face of opposition from the National Rifle Association (NRA).

“He hasn't backed away from these things at all,” Sanders said at a press briefing. “He can’t make them happen with a broad stroke of the pen. You have to have some congressional component to do some of these things, and without that support, it's not as possible.”