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Montgomery Co. student group plans 2nd mass walkout for gun control

Students rally at the Capitol against gun violence on March 14, 2018. (WTOP/Kristi King)

WASHINGTON — Exactly a year after walking out of classes for gun control, a Montgomery County student-led group is planning another regionwide action in a continued call for stricter gun laws in the aftermath of last year’s Parkland, Florida, shooting.

In a news release last week, Moco Students for Change detailed plans for a sequel to a March 14, 2018, protest which saw thousands of D.C.-area students leave classes for a march in the shadow of the Capitol.

The group, founded by Montgomery County high school students during a surge of youth-led gun control advocacy after a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, now seeks to rally support for legislation including H.R. 8 — a bill which would require background checks on all gun sales.

“With this new action, MoCo Students for Change will use their proximity to the nation’s capital to let the members of Congress and the President know that students are not going away until meaningful gun violence laws are enacted,” the group said.

Much like the first, the second mass walkout seeks to draw thousands of public and private school students out of classes to downtown D.C. for a march and rally on March 14.

The idea, the group said, is for students to walk out of classes at 10 a.m. and meet at the White House — “where students will turn their backs to the White House to symbolize the way the White House has turned its back on us.”

The group created a Twitter thread with specific directions for each school on where and when to gather:

Following 17 minutes of silence — one for each death in the Parkland shooting — the group plans to embark on a 2-mile march to the U.S. Capitol for a rally against gun violence featuring students and guest speakers.

“MoCo Students for Change is calling on all students in Montgomery County to join us in this fight for the safety of our fellow students and our fellow Americans,” the group said.

“The goal of this demonstration is to demand stricter gun laws and put pressure on our nation’s leaders to better protect American citizens, and more specifically, children.”

Last year’s rally was the D.C.-area installment of “National Walkout Day,” which featured student-led protests across the country. The D.C. program featured several Democratic members of Congress, including then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, of D.C.

The original event came 10 days before the March for Our Lives brought hundreds of thousands to Pennsylvania Avenue in a rally against gun violence organized by student survivors of the Parkland shooting.

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