Thousands demonstrate after mass shootings for gun reform

WASHINGTON – Thousands of protesters are expected to gather Saturday in Washington, DC and at separate demonstrations across the country as part of a renewed push for nationwide gun control. Motivated by a renewed wave of mass shootings Uvalde, Texasto Buffalo, New Yorkprotesters say lawmakers must take note of the shift in public opinion and finally enact sweeping reforms.

Organizers expect the second March for Our Lives rally to draw around 50,000 protesters to the Washington Monument. That’s far less than that Original March 2018, which filled downtown Washington with more than 200,000 people. This time the organizers are concentrating on holding smaller marches in an estimated 300 locations.

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“We want to make sure this work happens across the country,” said Daud Mumin, co-chair of the march’s board of directors and a recent graduate of Westminster College in Salt Lake City. “This work isn’t just about DC, it’s not just about Senators.”

The first march was inspired by the February 14, 2018, killing of 14 students and three staff members by an alumni at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. This massacre sparked the formation of the youth-led movement March For Our Lives, which successfully pressured the Republican-dominated Florida state government to enact sweeping gun control reforms.

The Parkland students then targeted state and national gun laws, started the March for Our Lives, and held the March 24, 2018 Washington Grand Rally.

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The group fell short of Florida’s results nationally, but has since continued to advocate for gun restrictions and participate in voter registration campaigns.

Now, as another spate of mass shootings put gun control back on the national conversation, organizers of this weekend’s events say it’s time to renew their push for a national overhaul.

“We’re angry right now,” said Mariah Cooley, a March For Our Lives board member and a senior at Howard University in Washington. “This will be a demonstration to show that as Americans, we’re not going to stop anytime soon until Congress does its job. And if not, we will vote them out.”

The protest comes at a time of renewed political activity related to guns and a pivotal moment for possible action in Congress.

Survivors of mass shootings and other gun violence incidents lobbied and testified for lawmakers on Capitol Hill this week. was among them Miah Cerrillo, an 11-year-old girl who survived the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. She told lawmakers how she covered herself in a dead classmate’s blood to avoid being shot.

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On Tuesday, Actor Matthew McConaughey appeared at the White House briefing room to push for gun legislation and made very personal comments about the violence in his hometown of Uvalde.

The House of Representatives has passed bills that would raise the age limit for purchasing semi-automatic weapons and enact federal “red flag” legislation. But such initiatives have traditionally stalled or been severely watered down in the Senate. Democratic and Republican senators had hoped to reach agreement this week on a framework to address the issue and talked about it Friday, but they hadn’t announced an agreement by early evening.

Moomin labeled the Senate “where substantive action dies” and said the new march should send a message to lawmakers that public opinion on gun control is shifting beneath their feet. “If they’re not on our side, there will be consequences – voting them out of office and making their life hell once they’re in office,” he said.

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Associated Press writer Ian Mader in Miami contributed to this report.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission.

https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2022/06/11/thousands-rally-for-gun-reform-after-surge-in-mass-shootings/ Thousands demonstrate after mass shootings for gun reform

Sarah Y. Kim

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