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Thousands march for gun control in Washington

By Brett Zongker

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 08:47 a.m. HST, Jan 26, 2013

WASHINGTON » Thousands of people, many holding signs with names of gun violence victims and messages such as "Ban Assault Weapons Now," joined a rally for gun controltoday today, marching from the Capitol to the Washington Monument.

Participants were led by Mayor Vincent Gray and other officials thistoday morning, and the crowd stretched for about two blocks along Constitution Avenue. Police blocked off half the road.

Participants held signs reading "Gun Control Now" and "Stop NRA," among other messages. Other signs were simple and white, with the names of victims of gun violence.

About 100 residents were expected from Newtown, Conn., where a gunman killed 20 first-graders and six teachers at a school in December. The rally was organized in response to that shooting.

Once the crowd arrived at the monument, speakers called for a ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan told the crowd it's not about taking away Second Amendment gun rights, but about gun safety and saving lives. He said he and President Barack Obama would do everything they could to enact gun control policies.

"We must act, we must act, we must act," Duncan said.

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C.'s non-voting representative in Congress, said the gun lobby can be stopped. The crowd chanted back, "Yes, we can."

Norton said the nation didn't act after previous mass killings, but she said "we the people," won't give up this time.

"We are all culpable if we do nothing now," Norton said

Participant Kara Baekey of Norwalk, Conn., said that when she heard about the Newtown shooting, she immediately thought of her two young children. She said she decided she must take action, and that's why she joined the march.

"I wanted to make sure this never happens at my kids' school or any other school," Baekey said. "It just can't happen again."

James Agenbroad, 78, of Garrett Park, Md., carried a handwritten sign on cardboard that read "Repeal the 2nd Amendment." He called it the only way to stop mass killings because he thinks the Supreme Court will strike down any other restrictions on guns.

"You can repeal it," he said. "We repealed prohibition."

Molly Smith, the artistic director of Washington's Arena Stage, and her partner organized the march. Organizers said that in addition to the 100 from Newtown, they expected buses of participants from New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia. Others are flying in from Seattle, San Francisco and even Alaska.

While she's never organized a political march before, Smith said she was compelled to press for a change in the law. The march organizers support President Barack Obama's call for a ban on 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.

"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 said. "I was horrified by it."

After the Connecticut shootings, Smith posted something on Facebook and drew more support to do something. The group One Million Moms for Gun Control, the Washington National Cathedral and two other churches eventually signed on to co-sponsor the march. Organizers have raised more than $46,000 online to pay for equipment and fees to stage the rally.

Lawmakers from the District of Columbia and Maryland were scheduled to speak today. Actress Kathleen Turner was expected to appear, along with Marian Wright Edelman of the Children's Defense Fund and Colin Goddard, a survivor from the Virginia Tech massacre.

Smith said she supports a comprehensive look at mental health and violence in video games and films. But she said the mass killings at Virginia Tech and Aurora, Colo., and Newtown, Conn., all start with guns.

"The issue is guns. The Second Amendment gives us the right to own guns, but it's not the right to own any gun," she said. "These are assault weapons, made for killing people."


March on Washington for Gun Control: http://www.guncontrolmarch.com/

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Joe_DA_Plumber wrote:
What! No pictures of the massive crowds?
on January 26,2013 | 07:05AM
livinginhawaii wrote:
That's because there were no massive crowds...
on January 26,2013 | 11:23AM
serious wrote:
DC has no representatives in the Congress--so why the march? DC has one of the highest murder rates in the nation along with Chicago and Detroit--all about 100% Democratic controlled--the murders are not from assault rifles!!!
on January 26,2013 | 07:08AM
realist3463 wrote:
So...A few Thousand will march supporting Gun Control in DC Today. Yesterday...HALF MILLION MARCH To Eliminate ABORTION and NOTHING IS REPORTED......UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!!!
on January 26,2013 | 07:25AM
Graham wrote:
Not really...considering the NEW CULTURE in America and the liberal press...
on January 26,2013 | 07:45AM
Pacej001 wrote:
Noted that, also. However, it's not unbelievable, its standard operating procedure for the Star Advertiser which only prints the news "they" think you need to know. In this case, "they" oppose abortion limits, so post no news on a half million Americans demonstrating against it in the freezing cold, but "they" support control of guns, so the big story. This is the model for the rest of the rest of media in the US, infested with liberal/progressive bias. Now, being liberal/progressive isn't bad, necessarily, but distorting the news, burying info they don't agree with is worse than bad and that is what American media has become, worse than bad, evil, in fact. Major newspapers, network news, most print publications are more agenda driven than ever, not worth reading.
on January 26,2013 | 08:06AM
Heinbear wrote:
I had not thought of repealing the 2nd amendment. That is an idea I would support. I think idiots with guns are more of danger than government militia
on January 26,2013 | 09:18AM
livinginhawaii wrote:
I agree - lets repeal the 2nd amendment. That way only the criminals would have the guns. Ensuring that only criminals have guns seems to be the logical approach of these protesters.
on January 26,2013 | 09:48AM
hawaiikone wrote:
Idiots with votes are far more dangerous.
on January 26,2013 | 12:18PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
If we got rid of the First Amendment we wouldn't have to listen to all this stuff.
on January 26,2013 | 09:23AM
HA HA HA HA I laugh at these people. If the assault weapons were banned, the bad guys will still acquire the weapons of choice and still use it against us unarmed civilians. It's even worse for us HA HA HA HA I'm keeping my gun.....close.
on January 26,2013 | 10:59AM
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