Thousands gathered in Washington, D.C., Saturday to protest escalating gun violence in the nation. The crowd was joined by some lawmakers. Demonstrators inspired by recent tragedies, such as the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, carried signs with pictures of gun violence victims, and demanded stronger gun control laws. Several Newtown, Conn., residents joined as the protest marched its way from the Capitol to the Washington Monument. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan addressed the crowd, riding the wave of pro-gun control sentiment that has struck Washington.
“This is about gun responsibility; this is about gun safety; this is about fewer dead Americans, fewer dead children,” Duncan said. “Far too many of our children are growing up in climates where they are scared. That has to change.
“This march is a starting point. It’s not an ending point. We must act, we must act, we must act.”
Similar demonstrations were organized across the country, reaching as far as San Francisco and Houston. Advocacy group One Million Moms For Gun Control co-sponsored the march in Washington and l11 more events nationwide. The Indiana-based non-profit has built a strong following since the Newtown shooting.
Gun control advocates believe that a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity clips would be the first step toward curbing the spread of gun violence. On Thursday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) proposed a bill that would reinstate the country’s previous ban on assault weapons and ban ammunition clips that carried more than 10 bullets. Her legislation has drawn the ire of the National Rifle Association, which has opposed any new restrictions on gun sales.
A statement from the organization released on Thursday said that Feinstein “has been trying to ban guns from law-abiding citizens for decades.
“The American people know gun bans do not work and we are confident Congress will reject Senator Feinstein’s wrong-headed approach,” the organization added.
Feinstein acknowledged the difficult path for the law, which will see resistance from congressional Republicans. She urged supporters to contact their senators and representatives, saying that an active public is “stronger than a gun lobby.”