WASHINGTON (AP) — Thousands of people, many holding signs with names of gun violence victims and messages such as “Ban Assault Weapons Now,” joined a rally for gun control on Saturday, marching from the Capitol to the Washington Monument.
Participants were led by Mayor Vincent Gray and other officials Saturday morning, and the crowd stretched for about two blocks along Constitution Avenue. Police blocked off half the road.
Participants held signs reading “Gun Control Now” and “Stop NRA,” among other messages. Other signs were simple and white, with the names of victims of gun violence.
About 100 residents were expected from Newtown, Conn., where a gunman killed 20 first-graders and six teachers at a school in December. The rally was organized in response to that shooting.
Once the crowd arrived at the monument, speakers called for a ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan told the crowd it’s not about taking away Second Amendment gun rights, but about gun safety and saving lives. He said he and President Barack Obama would do everything they could to enact gun control policies.
“We must act, we must act, we must act,” Duncan said.
Norton said the nation didn’t act after previous mass killings, but she said “we the people,” won’t give up this time.
“We are all culpable if we do nothing now,” Norton said
Participant Kara Baekey of Norwalk, Conn., said that when she heard about the Newtown shooting, she immediately thought of her two young children. She said she decided she must take action, and that’s why she joined the march.
“I wanted to make sure this never happens at my kids’ school or any other school,” Baekey said. “It just can’t happen again.”
James Agenbroad, 78, of Garrett Park, Md., carried a handwritten sign on cardboard that read “Repeal the 2nd Amendment.” He called it the only way to stop mass killings because he thinks the Supreme Court will strike down any other restrictions on guns.
“You can repeal it,” he said. “We repealed prohibition.”
Molly Smith, the artistic director of Washington’s Arena Stage, and her partner organized the march. Organizers said that in addition to the 100 from Newtown, they expected buses of participants from New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia. Others are flying in from Seattle, San Francisco and even Alaska.View Entire Story
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