Protesters Flock to Lawmakers’ District Offices for Gun Control

Parkland school shooting reignites gun debate, high schoolers take frontlines

Students calling for Congress to act on gun control demonstrate on the east lawn of the Capitol on February 21, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As more than a thousand high schoolers from the Washington, D.C., area marched from Capitol Hill to the White House to protest for more gun control Wednesday, Americans all over the country joined from afar.

From Upstate New York down to the Florida panhandle, protesters gathered outside conservative lawmakers’ state and district offices to call for legislative action to prevent deadly shootings and pressure members not to accept money from pro-gun lobbying groups.

In downtown Syracuse, New York, around 40 people met outside GOP Rep. John Katko’s district office to protest his stance on guns. Katko has an A rating with the National Rifle Association.

At one point, two of the protesters entered Katko’s office, spoke with a staffer, and handed the staffer a check with “thoughts and prayers” scribbled on it.

“That is the only thing he’s been able to offer in lieu of action,” Diana Oppedisano, a schoolteacher, told Syracuse.com.Watch: Students March for Gun Control

In Pensacola, roughly 30 people set up shop with homemade signs outside Rep. Matt Gaetz’s office. “Save our kids” and “Vote Matt Gaetz out,” they chanted.

“It appears tens were gathered,” Gaetz told the Pensacola News Journal via text message.

Gaetz declined to comment on whether Congress should act on guns after the shooting at a school in Parkland, Florida, last week that left 17 people dead.

“I think many of us are still processing the carnage at Parkland,” he said. “I know I am.”

New Jersey GOP Reps. Leonard Lance and Tom MacArthur also faced protests outside their district offices.

Lance invited a few protesters into his office for a conversation, one local news outlet reported.

A crowd of around 200 rallied outside MacArthur’s office in New Jersey’s 3rd District in response to the Parkland shooting, organizers told NJ.com.

“I think what made this particular issue so powerful was seeing the video and seeing the text that people were writing,” Barbara Blonsky, an organizer, said. “People were just incredibly shook up.”

House members could confront more protests as the gun debate percolates across the country. They are on a one-week break for district work before heading back to the Capitol next week.

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