3/14/18 - Atlanta - House and Senate Democrats staged a walkout this morning in support of the school walkout in protest of gun violence. BOB ANDRES /BANDRES@AJC.COM Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com
Photo: Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com
Photo: Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com

Georgia Democratic legislators stage walkout against school gun violence 

Democratic state legislators walked together from the chambers of the state House and Senate on Wednesday in a show of solidarity with students participating in national walkouts to protest gun violence.

The Democrats, who staged the walkout before Wednesday’s legislative session began, gathered on a staircase at the Capitol to call on the state’s Republican majority to work with them to pass laws that would help prevent future school shootings.

“We've heard enough thoughts and prayers,” said Rep. Carolyn Hugley, D-Columbus. “But in order to move legislation, we have to have a willingness to work together on both sides of the aisle. We stand here today to let you know the Democrats are ready.”

3/14/18 - Atlanta - Rep. Erica Thomas, D - Austell, leads House Democrats out of the chamber to start their walkout. House and Senate Democrats staged a walkout this morning in support of the school walkout in protest of gun violence. BOB ANDRES /BANDRES@AJC.COM
Photo: Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com

One by one, the lawmakers held photos of the 17 victims killed in last month’s school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

“The victims of the shooting could have been students from any high school in Georgia,” said Rep. Erica Thomas, D-Austell. “Our job as legislators is to listen to these students and let them know their voices matter.”

The Democratic legislators created an email address, 17hourspeakout@gmail.com, so they can hear suggestions from students and Georgians about how to stop school shootings.

They highlighted one pending proposal, Senate Bill 457, which would require every public and private school to prepare a safety plan and conduct safety drills. That bill is pending in the House Rules Committee after it passed the Senate last month.

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