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 SchumerGOP Green New Deal stunt is a great deal for Democrats National emergency declaration — a legal fight Trump is likely to win House Judiciary Dems seek answers over Trump's national emergency declaration MORE (N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiDonald Trump proved himself by winning fight for border security Trump should beware the 'clawback' Congress The national emergency will haunt Republicans come election season MORE (Calif.) both spoke to the demonstrators, while other Democrats such as Sen. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Rep. Ted DeutchTheodore (Ted) Eliot DeutchHouse panel advances bill to expand background checks for gun sales Whitaker takes grilling from House lawmakers Parkland father on Gaetz advocating for border wall in gun violence hearing: 'Pretty offensive' MORE (Fla.) and Rep. Keith EllisonKeith Maurice EllisonIlhan Omar defends 2012 tweet: 'I don't know how my comments would be offensive to Jewish Americans' States scramble to fill void left by federal shutdown 116th Congress breaks records for women, minority lawmakers 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) SandersCongress closer to forcing Trump’s hand on Saudi support Booker seeks dialogue about race as he kicks off 2020 campaign Capitalism: The known ideal 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 WarrenWarren set to announce plan for universal child care: reports Barack, Michelle Obama expected to refrain from endorsing in 2020 Dem primary: report Booker seeks dialogue about race as he kicks off 2020 campaign 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 TrumpRosenstein expected to leave DOJ next month: reports Allies wary of Shanahan's assurances with looming presence of Trump States file lawsuit seeking to block Trump's national emergency declaration 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.”