More than 100 protesters stood outside the National Rifle Association headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia, on Friday night demanding action on gun control in the wake of Wednesday’s school shooting in Florida.
Among the attendees were friends of some of the 17 students and teachers who were killed in Parkland, Florida, as well as Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., and relatives of those shot and killed at Virginia Tech in 2007.
“Children are dead because of you,” Connolly said of the NRA, in comments reported by Washington, D.C. ABC affiliate WJLA.
One of the attendees at the vigil was the friend of Nicholas Dworet, a 17-year-old senior at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School, who was killed in Wednesday’s shooting. Dworet had committed to the University of Indianapolis swim team.
“I’m burying my best friend next week,” the teen, who did not want to be identified, told WJLA. “I cheered with these people and I cheered with one of these girls. Now I have to bury my best friend who is committed to the University of Indianapolis for swimming. I grew up with him.”
Peter Reed, whose daughter Mary was among the 32 people killed in a shooting at Virginia Tech in April 2007, said the shooting on Wednesday brought back horrible memories.
“It very quickly takes us back to where we were in April of 2007. It’s numbing. It’s maddening,” Read told WJLA.
The NRA, a regular financial backer of Republican politicians, has not commented on Wednesday’s deadly shooting. The NRA has defended sales of the AR-15, the semi-automatic weapon used in Parkland and a number of other mass shootings.
The NRA says the AR-15 has “soared in popularity” because it is “customizable, adaptable, reliable and accurate” and “can be used in sport shooting, hunting and self-defense situations.”
Flags were flying at half-staff outside NRA headquarters on Friday.