In wake of Florida high school killings, a loud call for ban on assault weapons, other provisions
Nearly 200,000 took to city streets Saturday, intent on giving notice that gun violence has fierce opposition — and determined to make their collective voice heard by politicians.
The atmosphere was thick with emotion as parents, children, grandparents, teachers — all sorts and all types — walked along Central Park West, chanting “Vote Them Out!”
The protest, March for Our Lives, was one of hundreds taking place across the nation as well as abroad, with the largest demonstration in Washington, D.C., which was said to have drawn about 800,000.
The march was in response to the killing of 17 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, last month. Since January 1, there have been 17 school shootings, more than one a week, according to a tally by CNN.
On Saturday, thousands of young people registered to vote, hoping to pressure politicians to pass legislation that meets the demands of the anti-gun violence movement. Among the provisions many would like to see enacted include universal background checks, bans on assault weapons and the raising of minimum ages to buy a gun.
“I am here to support the students, because my generation has failed them,” said city resident Tricia Kampton. “People who defend these acts of violence because of the Second Amendment are not justified. I have friends in upstate New York who own guns and are in the Washington, D.C., march today.”
Kampton was accompanied by her son, Talia, a 10th grade student who participated in the school walkout on March 14.
In the crowd, various signs read, “Arm Teachers with Pencils, Not Guns,” “Your Guns or Our Lives?” and “Never Again.” Young children walked with their parents, holding signs, pleading for gun reform.
Sam Hendler, a 16-year old student from Marjory Stoneman Douglas, who addressed the rally, called on people to replace apathy with action. Hendler emphasized that thoughts and prayers following mass shootings were “not enough.”
Speakers from the Black Lives Matter movement added that gun violence disproportionately affects people of color and that shootings in the Bronx or South Side of Chicago must receive the same kind of recognition.
Ally Margelony and Madayn Jurgensmier, high school sophomores from Connecticut, said it was high time for the passage of gun-control laws.
“It’s ridiculous there has been no change,” Margelony said. “How was nothing done after Sandy Hook?” she added, referring to the Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school shooting in 2012 that killed 26, including 20 pupils.
Both students said the movement toward gun control had grown significant and that they want to ensure common sense laws are mandated.
“It’s inspiring to be here,” Jurgensmier added. “It makes me optimistic that change will happen.”
Article can be seen here: http://www.westsidespirit.com/local-news/20180326/gun-control-rally-draws-200000