PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Lawmakers in Harrisburgh failed to pass gun control reforms Wednesday, just days after the Texas mass elementary school shooting.
The students at McCall Middle School walked right out the door Thursday afternoon demanding lawmakers vote on gun control measures. They say their safety is in jeopardy.READ MORE: First-Of-Its-Kind Program At Crozer-Chester Medical Center Encouraging Minority Students To Pursue STEM Careers
More than 100 eighth-graders at McCall Middle School are calling on lawmakers to pass gun control. Kaitlin McCann is their teacher and led the students at the afternoon rally. Gun violence and civics have been part of the curriculum during the school year. Thinking about what happened in Texas brought her to tears.
“It’s really scary every time you hear about it and I think it’s happening more frequently,” McCann said. “You just picture yourself in that situation. What would I do to keep these kids safe?”
Matt Madden is a parent with two kids at McCall. He went to the school Thursday to watch as they protested.
“It’s really awful to be doing this and after explaining what was happening in Buffalo the shooting there a week earlier, it’s a lot to take in,” Madden said.
The protest comes a day after lawmakers in Harrisburg failed to pass a package of reform measures on Wednesday. They included a ban on assault weapons, required reporting of stolen or lost guns and safe storage.READ MORE: Man Killed In Road Rage Shooting In Springfield Identified, Authorities Say
Rep. Joanna McClinton is the House Democratic leader. She says the bills have been stalled for years.
“I’m moved to act. I don’t think we should just take a moment of silence,” McClinton said. “We desperately must move these bills and unfortunately, we could not get cooperation.”
One Democrat voted with Republicans blocking the measures.
Rep. Todd Stephens from Montgomery County was the only Republican to vote with Democrats.
“For me, it’s not about party, it’s about doing what’s right,” Stephens said.
A spokesperson for the speaker of the House issued a statement that reads, in part, “What happened in Uvalde, Texas, this week is a tragedy beyond measure. Ensuring safe communities here in Pennsylvania remains one of our top priorities and we are committed to a continued, productive and reasonable discussion over ways to achieve that goal.”MORE NEWS: 'We're Serious With This': Strike Of Casino Workers In Atlantic City Expected Amid Wage Negotiation
A spokesperson for the speaker of the House released a statement saying Pennsylvania already has strong background checks and that schools are given $200 million a year for security.