WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) – Thousands of people rallied on the National Mall and across the United States on Saturday for a renewed push for gun control measures following the recent fatal mass shooting from Euvalde, Texas to Buffalo, New York, activists said. To say that the Congress should be forced to act.
“Enough is enough,” District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser said at the second March for Our Lives rally in her city. “I speak as a mayor, as a mother, and I speak for the millions of Americans and the mayors of America who are demanding that Congress do its job. And its job is to protect us, protect our children from gun violence.” to be saved from.”
Speaker after speaker in Washington called on senators, who are seen as a major obstacle to the law, to act or face being out of office, especially on May 24 of 19 children and two teachers. The conscience of the nation was shocked after Robb was killed in the elementary. School in Uvalde.
“If our government can’t do anything to stop 19 kids from being killed and mauled in their own school, and it’s time to change who’s in the government,” said David Hogg, of the 2018 shooting 17 students were killed. and employees of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
A co-founder of the March for Our Lives organization, which was formed after that shooting and held its first rally in Washington sometime later, Hogg led the crowd in chants of “vote it out”.
Another Parkland survivor and co-founder of the group, Ax Gonzalez, made a passionate, profane petition to Congress for change. “We are being murdered,” he shouted and asked Congress to “act your age, not the size of your shoe.”
Added Yolanda King, granddaughter of Martin Luther King Jr.: “This time is different because it’s not about politics. It’s about morality. Not right and left, but right and wrong, and that just means thoughts and prayers. No. It means courage and action.”
Manuel Oliver, whose son, Joaquin, was killed in the Parkland shooting, called on students to “refrain from going back to school until our elected leaders stop ravaging the scourge of gun violence in America and take our lives.” Let’s start working to save.”
Hundreds gathered at an amphitheater in Parkland, where Debra Hixon, whose husband, high school athletic director Chris Hixon, died in the shooting, said it was “too easy” for young men to walk into stores and buy weapons.
“Going home to an empty bed and an empty seat at the table is a constant reminder that he’s gone,” said Hickson, who now serves as a member of the school board. “We weren’t meant to make memories, share dreams, and live a life together. The gun violence took her away from my family.”
In San Antonio, about 85 miles east of Uvalde, marchers chanted “Hey, hey, ho, ho, the NRA must go.” A man who said he helped organize the rally, Frank Ruiz, called for similar gun reform laws enacted in Florida after the Parkland shooting that focused on raising the age for certain firearm purchases and flagging people with mental health problems. was.
The US House has passed a bill to increase the age limit for purchasing semi-automatic weapons and establish a federal “red flag” law. A bipartisan group of senators had hoped to reach agreement on a framework to address the issue this week and held talks on Friday, but no deal was announced.
President Joe Biden, who was in California when the Washington rally began, said his message to protesters “keep going” and said he is “mildly optimistic” about legislative talks to address gun violence. Biden recently gave an impassioned address to the nation in which he called for a series of steps, including raising the age limit for purchasing assault-style weapons.
In New York City, Mayor Eric Adams, who campaigned to rein in violence in the nation’s largest city, joins state Attorney General Letitia James in suing the National Rifle Association in leading activists across the Brooklyn Bridge .
“Nothing happens in this country until the youth stand up – not the politicians,” James said.
Joining the call for change were hundreds of people who rallied in a park outside the courthouse in Portland, Maine, before marching through the Old Port and gathering outside City Hall. At one point, he said, “Hey, hey, hey, NRA. How many kids did you kill today.”
John Wuesthoff, a retired Portland attorney, said he was waving an American flag during the rally, to remind him that gun control is “not un-American.”
“It’s very American to have proper rules in place to save the lives of our children,” he said.
There was excitement over the issue in Washington after a young man jumped off barricades and tried to run on stage before being stopped by security forces. The incident caused some panic as people started to disperse.
Organizers expected the second March for Our Lives rally to attract 50,000 people to the Washington Monument, although the crowd seemed to be closer to 30,000. The 2018 event attracted more than 200,000 people, but this time the focus was on smaller marches in an estimated 300 locations.
The youth-led movement created after the Parkland shooting successfully pressured the Republican-dominated Florida state government to implement sweeping gun control changes. The group did not match her nationally, but has since continued to advocate for gun restrictions, as well as participate in voter registration campaigns.
Survivors of mass shootings and other incidents of gun violence lobbied for legislators and testified on Capitol Hill this week. Among them was Mia Cerillo, an 11-year-old girl who narrowly escaped the shooting at Rob’s Elementary. He described to lawmakers how he covered himself with the blood of a dead classmate to avoid being shot.
Associated Press writers Jennifer Peltz in New York, David Sharp in Portland, Maine and Chris Megarian in Los Angeles contributed to this report.