Thousands of marchers rallied in Washington in favor of gun control on Saturday, including residents of Newtown, Connecticut, where the latest mass shooting took place, carrying away dozens of lives.
According to organizers, the rally on the National Mall was attended by about 100 Newtown residents and buses from New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia. People even came from Seattle, San Francisco and Alaska.
Marchers gathered at the Capitol Reflecting Pool and rallied down Constitution Avenue toward the Washington monument shortly before midday.
Molly Smith, the artistic director of Washington’s arena stage who organized the march, revealed that she was inspired by the December gun assault that killed 20 children and six teachers in Connecticut.
“With the drum roll, the consistency of the mass murders and the shock of it, it is always something that is moving and devastating to me. And then, it’s as if I move on,” Smith said. “And In this moment, I can’t move on. I can’t move on.
“I think it’s because it was children, babies,” she added. “I was horrified by it.”
As she hasn’t has any experience in organizing a political march before, Smith said she was compelled to press for a change in the law, reports The Guardian.
The march organizes and participants support President Barack Obama’s plan to ban military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines as well as for universal background checks for gun sales. They also want lawmakers to require gun safety training for all buyers of firearms.
List of people delivered speeches on Saturday included Education Secretary Arne Duncan, lawmakers and actors who urged the marchers carrying such signs as “What Would Jesus Pack?” to lobby Congress and state legislators to back gun control measures.
Duncan, who said one student had died from guns every two weeks while he was chief executive of Chicago’s public schools,
Duncan said that during his being chief executive of Chicago’s public schools one student had died from guns every week. The secretary also denied that gun control was about limiting firearm rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
As Reuters writes, murders in that city last year rose to the highest level since 2008, according to police.
“This is about gun responsibility. This is about gun safety. This is about fewer dead Americans, fewer dead children, fewer children living in fear,” Duncan said.
Participants included politicians from Maryland and the District of Columbia, including Washington Mayor Vincent Gray, as well as actress Kathleen Turner and Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children’s Defense Fund.
Kathleen Turner delivered a speech at the event urging to take action and write letters to their local politicians in order necessary measures will be undertaken in Washington.
“It’s wonderful that we’re all here today. And you listen to people with good common sense. Action that can and must be taken. But there’s obviously more that needs to be done….”