Sean Stefanic--who calls himself, a “fabulous footman” of Gays Against Guns--and other protesters march to lawmakers’ offices to demand stricter gun laws on the one year anniversary of the school shooting in Parkland, Fla. (Gabrielle Bienasz/MNS)Tori Wenig, of the D.C. chapter of Gays Against Guns, said that because of the Parkland shooting, the tone of the Valentine’s day protest is more somber than in past years. When asked what pronouns she uses, Tori said, “‘Don’t kill me,’ I guess?” (Gabrielle Bienasz/MNS)Jeremy Tjhung and Kimberly Miller walk in in the lower floors of the Russell Senate building headed to lawmakers office to “shame” lawmakers who do not support stricter gun laws and to deliver thank-you Valentines to the ones who do. (Gabrielle Bienasz/MNS)These silent protesters dressed in white and carried a photo of someone killed by guns or transphobic violence. They declined to be identified or interviewed. (Gabrielle Bienasz/MNS)Two protesters take a “veil break” while the group plans their visit to lawmakers’ offices. (Gabrielle Bienasz/MNS)A broken heart in Hart: After the visits to lawmakers, the group began their “arrestable action.” They used their bodies and red fabric to create a “broken heart” on the first floor of the Hart building. (Gabrielle Bienasz/MNS)Jay W. Walker bags up the red cloth from the broken heart protest and the other protestors debrief. (Gabrielle Bienasz/MNS)The arrested members of GAG who wait to load into the police van outside of Hart Senate Office Building. (Gabrielle Bienasz/MNS)Ethan Somers, communications director for March for Our Lives, talks with GAGS organizer Jay W. Walker. He thanked them for their work and invited them to the hill, where March For Our Lives activists were handing out letters handwritten by the mother of Joaquin Oliver, one of the victims of the Parkland shooting. (Gabrielle Bienasz/MNS)After a long day, Gays Against Guns activists talk and eat at Tortilla Coast restaurant near Capitol Hill.
Gays Against Guns chanted “How many more have to die?” and “Pass HR8” throughout the capitol on Valentine’s Day. The New York-based organization began in the wake of the 2016 shooting at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla.

Members from the group protested in lawmakers’ offices for tighter gun laws and in the Hart Senate Office building where they created a broken heart for victims of gun violence with their bodies and red fabric.

GAG members are arrested by Capitol Police after created a broken heart in the Hard Senate Office Building. (Gabrielle Bienasz/MNS)

The Capitol Police warned them twice with bullhorns that they were engaged in an illegal protest they would be arrested if they didn’t disburse. They eventually lifted the red fabric from the individuals, zip-tied their wrists, and led them into the police van outside of Hart.

“Getting arrested is in our DNA,” said Kevin Hertzogg, who is known as the “mother” of the group. “I’m kind of the one who figures everything out and who’s always yelling,” he said.

The group splits itself into people who wish to be arrested and those who do not, according to organizer Jay W. Walker, but Hertzogg said that the strategy itself takes inspiration from the Civil Rights Movement.

Maryellen Novak presents the thank-you Valentine to one of Senator Duckworth’s staffers in her office in the Hart Senate Building. They also sang an original song extolling the legislator for sharing their values on gun safety. (Gabrielle Bienasz/MNS)

Michael Beer, another one of the organization’s “footmen,” said he was “elated” that the group was able to put on the demonstration they had wished to but that his feelings were mixed.

“I’m also feeling for the victims and survivors of gun violence… and [those] who will suffer in the future,” he said. “But I’m so proud of everyone for coming out.”