March for Our Lives Rally Will Take Place on Saturday

WASHINGTON (AP) — Thousands of protestors are expected to rally in Washington, D.C., Saturday and in separate demonstrations around the country as part of a renewed push for nationwide gun control. Demonstrators, motivated by the recent surge of mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo, New York respectively, are calling for lawmakers to pay attention to shifting public opinion, and implement sweeping reforms.

According to organizers, the March for Our Lives 2 rally will draw approximately 50,000 protestors to the Washington Monument. That’s far less than the original 2018 march, which filled downtown Washington with more than 200,000 people. Organisers will now focus on organizing smaller marches in 300 locations.

“We want to make sure that this work is happening across the country,” said Daud Mumin, co-chairman of the march’s board of directors and a recent graduate of Westminster College in Salt Lake City. “This work is not just about D.C., it’s not just about senators.”

After the February 14, 2018 shooting deaths of three school staff members and 14 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland Florida, a former student inspired the first march. The massacre inspired the formation of the youth-led March For Our Lives organization, which was able to pressure the Republican-dominated Florida government into enacting comprehensive gun control reforms.

Parkland student protestors then took aim in gun laws across the country, starting March for Our Lives. The big Washington rally was held on March 24, 2018, in Washington.

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The results of the Florida elections were not comparable, but the group has continued advocating gun control since and participating in voter registration drives.

Now, with another string of mass shootings bringing gun control back into the national conversation, organizers of this weekend’s events say the time is right to renew their push for a national overhaul.

“Right now we are angry,” said Mariah Cooley, a March For Our Lives board member and a senior at Washington’s Howard University. “This will be a demonstration to show that us as Americans, we’re not stopping anytime soon until Congress does their jobs. And if not, we’ll be voting them out.”

Protests are occurring at a time when there is renewed gun violence and an opportunity for Congress to take action.

This week, survivors of mass shootings or other instances of gun violence lobbied lawmakers and gave testimony on Capitol Hill. Miah Cerrillo (11-year-old) was one of those who survived the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde. She told lawmakers how she covered herself with a dead classmate’s blood to avoid being shot.

Actor Matthew McConaughey made some personal comments about Uvalde’s violence on Tuesday at the White House Briefing Room.

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The House has passed bills that would raise the age limit to buy semi-automatic weapons and establish federal “red flag” laws. These initiatives are not new, but they have been resisted or diluted in the Senate. Democratic and Republican senators had sought to agree this week on a framework to address the issue. However, they did not announce any agreement until Friday evening.

Mumin referred to the Senate as “where substantive action goes to die,” and said the new march is meant to spend a message to lawmakers that public opinion on gun control is shifting under their feet. ”If they’re not on our side, there are going to be consequences — voting them out of office and making their lives a living hell when they’re in office,” he said.

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