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 SchumerSchumer, Pelosi push Trump to back universal background check bill Sinema says she would back Kennedy in race against Markey Democrats threaten to withhold defense votes over wall MORE (N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPence says it's 'vital' for Congress to pass US-Mexico-Canada trade deal The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump heads to California Obama, Bush among those paying tribute to Cokie Roberts: 'A trailblazing figure' MORE (Calif.) both spoke to the demonstrators, while other Democrats such as Sen. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Rep. Ted DeutchTheodore (Ted) Eliot DeutchGun epidemic is personal for lawmakers touched by violence House panel advances anti-gun violence legislation Gun debate to shape 2020 races MORE (Fla.) and Rep. Keith EllisonKeith Maurice EllisonJudge threatens to put prison officials in same uncooled cells as inmates Minnesota students file federal lawsuit against school district alleging 'deliberate indifference' to racist incidents Former Sanders aides launch consulting firm 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 SandersBernie SandersSanders supporters cry foul over Working Families endorsement of Warren California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth Kamala Harris calls for new investigation into Kavanaugh allegations 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 WarrenSanders supporters cry foul over Working Families endorsement of Warren California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth Kamala Harris calls for new investigation into Kavanaugh allegations 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 TrumpBusiness, ballots and battling opioids: Why the Universal Postal Union benefits the US Sanders supporters cry foul over Working Families endorsement of Warren California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth 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.”