The American Federation of Teachers has organized protests to demand more gun control legislation outside the state offices of Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) and says more protests are coming.
The first rallies are slated to take place Tuesday afternoon and come in the aftermath of the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas, last week, in which a lone gunman killed 19 students and two teachers.
The shooting has renewed calls for Congress to pass legislation curtailing gun ownership and expanding background check requirements for firearm purchases. Toomey, who backed expanded background checks for gun purchases in 2013, has reiterated his support for the measure in recent days.
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"The school shootings in Uvalde, Texas, have laid bare the crisis we’re facing here in America — again. We can’t allow these preventable mass murders to keep happening," the American Federation of Teachers said in the announcement of the two Tuesday rallies.
"Students deserve safe and welcoming schools, and parents need to know their children are safe," the announcement continued. "Educators deserve to be able to teach; they should not be forced to be human shields to protect their students. Community members deserve to know their schools, stores and places of worship are safe; and they must not be scared to live their values. This is a public health crisis."
The protests are planned to take place outside the Pittsburgh office of Toomey, who is retiring at the end of the year, and outside the Austin office of Cruz.
But the AFT says it is also planning protests at other senators' offices as well as events for the weekend.
David Hogg, a gun control activist and former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a school shooting took place in 2018, promoted the protests on Twitter and called on educators to join the union's protests.
🚨 Attention educators 🚨— David Hogg 🌻 (@davidhogg111) May 30, 2022
I told you I would have a direct way you can help us fight for gun safety. March For Our Lives worked with the president of NEA and AFT your marching orders are below. Let’s get to work. https://t.co/obwXGXja0x
"Attention educators," Hogg wrote. "I told you I would have a direct way you can help us fight for gun safety. March For Our Lives worked with the president of NEA and AFT your marching orders are below. Let’s get to work."
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Hogg's tweet came in response to AFT President Randi Weingarten, who expressed support for the Pittsburgh rally, saying, "We need Senator Toomey to do the right thing."