Update Thursday, April 6, 2023: Tens of thousands of students across the U.S. joined in a collective action on Wednesday, April 5, at noon local time, and walked out of their classes en masse to demand gun control legislation.
The student participants spanned geographical location—from Oregon, to Texas, to Massachusetts—and age, ranging from elementary school to high school and beyond. Some demonstrations were frantic and loud, with urgent chants directed at lawmakers and gun manufacturers: “Our blood, your hands.” “Books, not bullets.” “Hey, hey, NRA, how many kids did you kill today?” Others were silent and somber.
Scroll through some of the demonstrations below.
Students at Boulder High School are participating in a state and national walkout today to raise awareness for gun violence. Here they are in front of the Boulder County Courthouse @dailycamera pic.twitter.com/ynvRGmB17y— Olivia Doak (@NT_oliviadoak) April 5, 2023
We walked out of school today because we’re #FedUp with guns being the #1 killer of our generation.— Students Demand Action (@StudentsDemand) April 5, 2023
We do not accept gun violence as normal. Join us our work to #EndGunViolence: Text STUDENTS to 644-33. pic.twitter.com/BYuLNx4EFO
Terry Schrunk Plaza. School kids calling out gun makers, law makers, the NRA and anyone they feel is in the way of real change for gun violence. Now chanting This is what democracy looks like.” @KGWNews pic.twitter.com/sk83jmnp7X— Tim Gordon (@TimGordonPDX) April 5, 2023
Video from the student walkout at #Framingham High School today. Kids are #fedup with inaction on #gunviolence . They deserve more from our lawmakers #mapoli @StudentsDemand @MomsDemand pic.twitter.com/U803qbq1ep— Samantha McGarry (@samanthamcgarry) April 5, 2023
Melrose high school students begin a walkout demanding action on gun violence. Similar walkouts are going on around the state and country. #wbz pic.twitter.com/7TIOb9NNyI— Beth Germano (@BethWBZ) April 5, 2023
They marched about a mile from the high school to the town square, where there is a public memorial for all the Robb Elementary shooting victims. #nationalwalkout #gunviolence #Uvalde pic.twitter.com/2tpFPUezYM— Sam Owens (@SamOwensphoto) April 5, 2023
In support of National Students Demand Action Walkout, our amazing young ladies @RangelYWLS peacefully walked out of their classrooms at 1 pm and voiced their concerns against gun violence in schools. United Rangel Sisters! @N_Bernardino @AngieGaylord @ywprep @LEAD_DallasISD pic.twitter.com/FP15ikdMt3— Yvonne Rojas (@Rojas_YWLS) April 5, 2023
Today, Rangel students led a silent walkout to protest gun violence in our schools. Guns are the #1 killer of 18-25 year olds. Help us to feel safe in school, TX politicians! Pass sensible gun laws. Thoughts & prayers are not enough @GovAbbott @DanPatrick @KenPaxtonTX @wfaaizzy pic.twitter.com/yOLwrLpHcu— Irma Rangel YWLS (@RangelYWLS) April 5, 2023
Proud of our @Lkwd_LHS students for using their collective voice to advocate for change in our nation’s gun laws. #EnoughIsEnough pic.twitter.com/sVzD6up7lz— Lakewood OH Schools (@LkwdSchools) April 5, 2023
New York City
Kids are walking out of schools around the city today to protest gun violence, including here at Central Park East II, a K-8 school in Manhattan. Part of a national walkout planned by @StudentsDemand. pic.twitter.com/wEELFdRnAl— Jillian Jorgensen (@Jill_Jorgensen) April 5, 2023
“I’m scared to go to school, because I don’t wanna get shot.”— The Recount (@therecount) April 5, 2023
“It’s not fair how people are banning some books and not guns.”
— NYC students join national walkout calling for action to prevent gun violence after last week’s mass shooting in Nashville pic.twitter.com/UBw018e7LO
“We cannot have academics if we are not safe,” says 12th grader Presley Spiller, an organizer of the walkout at White Station High School. pic.twitter.com/jGr0nd1cSy— MLK50: Justice Through Journalism (@MLK50Memphis) April 5, 2023
Dozens of students at Eastlake High Schools are walking out to protest gun violence. Across the country more than 100 schools are seeing students walkout. @KIRO7Seattle pic.twitter.com/UbBSnoZxNx— Briseida Holguin (@BriseidaHolguin) April 5, 2023
Our students at Grimsley showing what democracy looks like in a protest walkout to end gun violence. As a community, we lost a student this week to gun violence. Enough is enough. Change is necessary. pic.twitter.com/PzRh39VKxn— Coach Darren Corbett (@DarrenCorbett4) April 5, 2023
#HAPPENINGNOW: hundreds of students at the Durham School of the Arts are participating in a walkout protesting gun violence in response to the school shooting in Nashville last week @WRAL pic.twitter.com/Sf3b8Ar8DZ— Monica Casey WRAL (@MonicaCaseyNews) April 5, 2023
Originally published Tuesday, April 4, at 10:00 a.m. PT:
Planning the Walkout
Students Demand Action invites students from campuses across the U.S. to stage walkouts to protest gun violence on Wednesday, April 5, at noon local time.
The Wednesday activation follows a devastating shooting on Monday, March 27, at the Covenant School in Nashville, Tenn., by a 28-year-old former student, who killed three elementary school students and three staff members: Cynthia Peak, 61, Katherine Koonce, 60. Mike Hill, 61, and Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs and William Kinney, all age 9.
A toolkit from the group lays out how-to steps for students looking to get involved:
- Talk to teachers or school leaders about your plans and what they mean to you.
- Recruit other students to join you. Contact student unions and other groups with followings.
- Then, on Wednesday at noon: “Stop whatever you’re doing and simply walk out.”
Stop whatever you’re doing and simply walk out — into the hallway, out of your school building, whatever feels right to you.
You can circle your school holding hands
You can stage your walkout in your school’s hallway
You can hold a lie-in on school grounds
Get creative—or any other action that makes sense for you and your community. ….
Text FED UP to 644-33 to take action.
The planned walkout follows days of student-led protests in Tennessee—the most recent of which was Monday, April 3, when thousands of Nashville students marched to the Capitol. The day marked one week since the Covenant School shooting. The protest was organized by gun control advocacy group March For Our Lives, which formed in the wake of the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., that killed 17.
“We all want to live through high school,” said 17-year-old Amy Goetzinger at Monday’s rally, “and that’s why we’re here today.”
Enormous crowd and scene here at the Capitol.— Chris O’Brien (@THEChrisOB) April 3, 2023
Stretches all the way to the Legislative Plaza.@WKRN #TNLeg23 pic.twitter.com/71KyWRZZg7
How many more kids have to die in our schools before our lawmakers act? How many more people need to die while grocery shopping? While walking on our city streets?Students Demand Action
Students Demand Action links recent record-breaking attacks on LGBTQ youth with the need for gun control legislation. “We know that transgender and gender non-conforming people are far more likely to be victims of gun violence than perpetrators,” the group writes in their Walkout Activation Toolkit. “We deserve to learn and live without fear, but thanks to our weak gun laws and the gun lobby’s relentless ‘guns everywhere’ agenda, nowhere is safe.”
“It’s not drag queens, it’s not books, it’s not Black history, it’s not trans rights — GUNS are KILLING KIDS,” said a tweet from March For Our Lives, announcing Monday’s walkout.
Vanderbilt, Belmont and Nashville high school students and @studentsdemand volunteers walked out of their classes and over to the capitol today. 💪💪💪 #tnleg https://t.co/HtuPIDTq1L https://t.co/uHS1veBePD— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) April 3, 2023
Gun Control Legislation
President Joe Biden signed into law last summer a bipartisan bill on gun safety—the first national legislation on gun control in two decades. The law provides $750 million for state-level crisis intervention programs and closes the “boyfriend loophole,” while still allowing those convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence crimes to restore their gun rights after five years if they haven’t committed other crimes.
The law also does not include a ban on assault weapons—the weapons responsible for over 85 percent of mass shooting fatalities, including the school shootings at: the Covenant School; Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, last year, which killed 21 people, 19 of whom were students; and Sandy Hook Elementary in December 2012, in Newtown, Conn., which killed 26 people, including 20 children. A Pew Research poll from 2021 shows high support from Democrats (80 percent) for a ban on assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines, while 40 percent of Republicans support these measures. Mass shootings dropped by 37 percent when the U.S. 1994 assault weapons ban went into effect, then spiked 183 percent when the ban expired in 2004.
Students participating in The March For Our Lives walkout, demonstrating against gun violence and calling for gun-law reform, shout at lawmakers inside the Tennessee state capitol in Nashville. More photos of the day: https://t.co/6GmwvsFREo 📷 Mark Zaleski/USA Today Network pic.twitter.com/1HPnt1ljPv— Reuters Pictures (@reuterspictures) April 4, 2023
“When lawmakers refuse to act, kids die looking down the barrel of a gun,” March For Our Lives said in a statement. “Young people will fight until we win.”
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