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Students Lie-Down In Protest Outside White House Demanding Gun Reforms After Florida School Massacre

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| February 20 , 2018 , 14:38 IST

Teenagers laid down on the sidewalk in front of the White House on Monday to call for presidential action on arms control after 17 people died in a Florida school shooting on February 14.

Parents and educators joined the protest, where protesters folded their arms across their chests. Two activists covered themselves with an American flag, while another had a sign saying, "Am I next?"

Eleanor Nuechterlein and Whitney Bowen, the teen organisers, said in a statement to CNN on Monday that "the two of us have organised this protest in solidarity with all of those who were affected by the tragic school shooting in Florida last week."

They also said, "We call on our national and state legislatures to finally act responsibly and reduce the number of these tragic incidents. It's essential that we all feel safe in our classrooms."

ALSO READ: Florida School Shooting Aftermath: Students Call For Tougher Gun Laws, Trump Blames FBI

A 16-year old student from Virginia said, "It’s really important to express our anger and the importance of finally trying to make a change and having gun control in America. Every day when I say ‘bye’ to my parents, I do acknowledge the fact that I could never see my parents again.”

Meanwhile, the White House said that US President Donald Trump was supporting an effort to improve background checks on gun buyers.

The president of the United States has been criticized for his lukewarm response to the shooting and for his vigorous past endorsement of the National Rifle Association (NRA). 

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump had been in talks with Republican Senator John Cornyn and Democratic Senator Chris Murphy over a bill that aims to strengthen the way state and federal governments report crimes that could prohibit people from buying guns. 

Students, teachers and politicians have urged Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress to act after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, to avoid a future tragedy. 

ALSO READ: 17 Killed In Florida School Shooting, 19-Year-Old Ex-Student Arrested

Emma Gonzalez, a student who survived the mass shooting delivered an emotionally charged speech at a gun control rally, demanding that national lawmakers do something to prevent mass school shootings.

Gonzalez said, "We certainly do not understand why it should be harder to make plans with friends on weekends than to buy an automatic or semiautomatic weapon. Maybe the adults have got used to saying, 'it is what it is', But if us students have learned anything, it's that if you don't study, you will fail. And in this case, if you actively do nothing, people continually end up dead."