South Floridian leads assault weapons ban protest in DC (includes video story)

For seven days, activists from across the country have protested in front of the U.S. Capitol demanding a federal ban on assault weapons. Activists held a sit-in since June 6, which was organized by South Floridian Samuel Schwartz.  

Schwartz, 19, has been engaged in activism for almost five years since his cousin, Alex Schachter, was killed in the 2018 Parkland school shooting.

“We are here in front of the Capitol because our meetings with lawmakers, all of our lobbying, the marches, and vigils (…) none of it has worked so far,” said Schwartz.

By collecting signatures from bystanders and representatives, Schwartz’s main objective is to gather calls for Chairman of the Judiciary Sen. Richard Durbin. 

According to the activist group, it is unlikely for an assault weapons ban to pass in the Senate. But they are looking for a show of general support among leaders in the Democratic Party because a ban on assault weapons is an important political issue for the younger electorate. 

“The ban will pass out of the Judiciary and will be put directly in Schumer’s hands, while the ban is unlikely to pass the house, we don’t care about that (…) what we want is an accountability vote, and for the party to show they are fighting for us,” said Schwartz

In 2022, there were 46 school shootings in the U.S. and, according to the Pew Research Center, gun-related injuries are the leading causes of death in the country.

Samuel Larreal is a Venezuelan journalism student with a concentration in political science and international relations. He is interested in reporting on human rights, immigration and civic freedom.