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Students Plan More Demonstrations Against Gun Violence

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Thousands of students across the United States yesterday were taking part in walkouts, marches, other demonstrations all to protest gun violence. This was taking place exactly one month after 17 people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. NPR's Brakkton Booker reports from Washington, D.C., that more demonstrations led by young people are to come.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)

UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: No more silence. End gun violence. No more silence. End gun violence.

BRAKKTON BOOKER, BYLINE: Outside the U.S. Capitol yesterday, despite frigid temperatures, students gathered in force. Many held signs like books, not bullets and fear has no place in our schools. Seventeen-year-old Madeleine Kramer goes to Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, Md.

MADELEINE KRAMER: I think it's completely unfair that we have to grow up like this. It's completely ridiculous that we should feel unsafe to go to school. I mean, I've talked to my grandparents, my parents. And they're like, feeling unsafe to go to school was unfathomable.

BOOKER: Kramer, like many in this crowd and other young people yesterday who took part in actions across the country, say the National Rifle Association is too powerful. Among the top things she wants lawmakers to change is to ban semiautomatic weapons. That's a nonstarter for the NRA. The group even released an ad Wednesday as student protests were underway. It's voiced by the NRA's top lobbyist, Chris Cox.

(SOUNDBITE OF AD)

CHRIS COX: Blaming good, honest people for the acts of murderers is wrong, divisive and not the answer. Passing new gun-control laws won't protect our kids because criminals willing to commit murder will never obey the law.

BOOKER: Jason Amboo is a senior at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Md. He's pleased with the turnout of this crowd. But he's expecting a far bigger one later this month.

JASON AMBOO: The Parkland kids are not here right now, but we know that they're going to be here on the 24. So we're going to be with them. They're going be with us, marching, you know, for what we believe in.

BOOKER: That event on the 24 in Washington and elsewhere, dubbed March for Our Lives, is being organized by the survivors of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. More protests are planned for April 20. That's the 19th anniversary of the Columbine, Colo., school shooting. Brakkton Booker, NPR News, Washington.

(SOUNDBITE OF PIANO NOVEL'S "VERT TENDRE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.