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House Democrats look to hire Parkland students to work on gun violence issues

Lawmakers would bring students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to Capitol Hill for the summer.
Image: March For Our Lives in Washington DC
Democratic lawmakers want to bring some of the Parkland teens back to Capitol Hill this summer.Michael Reynolds / EPA

WASHINGTON — Student survivors of gun violence descended on Washington en masse earlier this year during the massive March for Our Lives on March 24. Now some lawmakers would like to bring them back for an entire summer.

House Democrats are inviting students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida — who survived a mass school shooting in February — to come intern in their offices, working on gun violence prevention.

“We think it would be a great experience for them to be on the Hill to see exactly how things operate — or doesn’t, to some degree — but also to have time with these very special young people that have experienced something that none of us ever want to have experienced and I think we can learn from each other,” House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley, who is helping lead the effort, told NBC News.

Crowley, D-N.Y., is joining with House Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Linda Sanchez, D-Calif., and Reps. Ted Deutch, D-Fla. and Mike Thompson, D-Calif., in sending a letter to their Democratic colleagues Thursday encouraging members to open their offices to Parkland students.

“I would be thrilled if a significant number of them came up here and spent the summer helping to learn the system better so they will be even more effective advocates going forward,” Rep Deutch, who represents the district the high school is located in, told NBC News.

Student demonstrations across the country calling for action on gun violence have grown ever since the school shooting in Parkland that killed 17 earlier this year.

Despite a fresh push in the wake of recent shootings, Congress has been unable to come to an agreement on significant new legislation to address gun violence. While it is unlikely having these student interns in Washington will result in new movement on gun control, lawmakers say their presence alone will affect the conversation.

“They will have opportunities to interact with people who don’t agree with them,” Rep Crowley said. “...I think they will all learn from the experience, even folks who don’t agree with them will hopefully learn from them being here and vice versa.”