Thousands of gun control advocates were expected to demonstrate across the country on Saturday in the nationwide March for Our Lives protests. to demand action on gun laws after a series of deadly mass shootings.
As many as 50,000 protesters were expected in Washington, DC, for a march against gun violence, according to a permit from the National Park Service. Several hundred marches were planned across the country, including in New York City, Las Vegas, and Chicago.
It marks the latest widespread movement by the March for Our Lives, which was founded by teenagers after 17 people were killed in a shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla., in 2018. That year, the group rallied more than 1 million people. in the nation’s capital and organized brotherly rallies across the country and the world, mounting public pressure to change gun laws that, four years later, remain largely unaddressed.
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On Saturday, protesters were expected to gather at the Washington Monument in the district at noon for the rally, which will include speeches, videos and musical performances.
Speakers will include co-founders David Hogg, X Gonzalez, Democratic Rep. Cori Bush, National Education Association President Becky Pringle, and gun violence survivor RuQuan Brown.
Yolanda Renee King, the granddaughter of Martin Luther King Jr., will return as a speaker. She spoke at the 2018 rally when she was 9 years old, one of the most memorable speeches at the event.
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The group garnered national attention after its rise in 2018 and continues to push for tougher gun laws. which he says would prevent the scourge of mass shootings across the country. His march on Washington that year became the largest single-day protest against gun violence in US history.
Daud Moomin, executive co-chairman of the March for Our Lives board of directors, said it is disappointing to see the mass shootings continue, but the group will not stop its work fighting for change.
“Four years later and more than 170,000 lifetimes later, we march again and we are disappointed,” he said. “We’re angry, angry, angry and we want people across the country to be angry with us. We want people to join us in saying enough is enough.”
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More mass shootings than days so far this year
The latest March for Our Lives rally comes after a mass shooting in recent weeks, including at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 students and two teachers were killed on May 24.
“After countless mass shootings and instances of gun violence in our communities, it is time to get back on the streets and march for our lives,” the organization wrote on its website.
The organization advocates solutions that it says could help. end gun violence, including increasing gun ownership requirements, investing in community safety, holding the gun industry accountable, and requiring action at the federal level.
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There have been 251 mass shootings this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit organization that tracks gun violence. That’s more than the 161 days there have been this year.
The Texas school shooting, along with the attacks on a grocery store in New York, a church in California and a medical center in Oklahoma, brought gun violence back to the forefront of national discourse. But changes to gun laws remain uncertain.
On Wednesday, the Democratic-controlled House passed a sweeping gun control bill that seeks to raise the age to buy semi-automatic rifles to 21. The bill faces an uphill climb in the evenly divided Senate..
‘Let’s keep fighting’
But Hogg, a Parkland survivor, wrote on Twitter that “this time will be different” as the organization draws national support and has begun to see businesses and even some Republicans calling for gun violence.
Along with Hogg, Brown will deliver a speech at Saturday’s protest in Washington. The 20-year-old has fought for gun violence prevention after his stepfather and a soccer teammate were killed in two separate shootings while he was in high school in Washington.
“Both of those things really pushed me to start advocating for my safety and the safety of my community,” Brown said. “I come to this march to speak to all the people on behalf of Black people who are affected by gun violence every day.”
Mumin stressed that the work will not end with Saturday’s march.
“This work does not stop after June 11. We are going to keep fighting,” Moomin said. “We are going to keep going. We are going to continue to mobilize for a very serious but simple message that it is time to act.”