Seventeen students from in and around Washington, D.C, gathered outside the White House to protest gun violence after the recent shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. The students lay on the ground for three minutes to signify the lives lost during the shooting and the time it takes to purchase a gun. Some of the students turned to the White House and were heard chanting "Don't be complacent" and "Shame on you" as they waved American flags and signs written, "Am I next?" After laying on the ground for three minutes, the seventeen students were then joined by teachers and parents who were present.

16-year-old organizes demonstrations

The D.C protest was organized by a sixteen-year-old girl named Whitney Bowen, who learned about the shooting through social media. Whitney is a junior at the Potomac School in McLaren, Va. After listening to interviews with some of the students from Douglas on social media, Whitney and her friends felt inspired, they created a Facebook group, Teens for Gun Reform. They also sent Facebook event invitations for people to attend the lie-in outside the White House. Word of the event quickly spread throughout the region with more than 700 people expressing interest.

On Monday morning the students were joined by hundreds of protestors demanding Trump and Congress to make gun reforms.

The recent shooting is considered one of the worst mass shootings at schools in the U.S. Among the protestors were a group of activists who have been protesting outside the White House for over five years. The group has been demonstrating for gun reforms every Monday ever since the 2012 shooting in Aurora, Colo., where twelve people were murdered in a movie theatre.

Among the activist was a 66-year-old woman named Linda Finkel-Talvadkar who commended the youth’s passion saying it mirrored students in her generation who took to the streets demanding an end to Vietnam War. Linda said she is very proud of students.

White House responds to protests

The Washington residents acted as an echo to protests held in Parkland by other teenagers.

In response to the demonstrations, the White House stated that Trump supports the reform to conduct background checks on all gun buyers. Nevertheless, the president was criticized for his response to the recent school shootings and his previous backing of the National Rifle Association (NRA). After being sworn in, the president has since overturned gun regulations made by the Obama administration which restricted particular people from accessing guns. Critics say these changes have since increased security threats as people with mental illnesses have had an easier time accessing guns, therefore being a threat to themselves and others.