Several citizens took part in an anti-gun violence rally Saturday, while also seeking support for President Obama’s gun control plan. Holding signs and banners against gun violence, a huge crowd of people marched from the Capitol to the Washington Monument. The participants were lead by more than 100 residents from Newtown, Conn., where a mass shooting at an elementary school last year killed 20 children and six adults.
The public outrage over the shooting at the Sandy Hook elementary school has strengthened the debate against gun violence in the country with many demanding stringent gun control measures.
The marchers held signs reading "We Are Sandy Hook" "Gun Control Now," ''Stop NRA" and "What Would Jesus Pack?" among other telling messages. Some of the banners carried names of the victims of gun violence.
The speakers - including lawyers, lawmakers and actors - at the rally urged people to lobby for gun control measures and appealed to the Congress and state legislators to back the planned gun control measures.
"This is about gun responsibility. This is about gun safety. This is about fewer dead Americans, fewer dead children, fewer children living in fear," said Arne Duncan, Education Secretary, according to Reuters.
Voicing optimism at the rally, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C.'s non-voting representative in Congress, said the gun lobby can be stopped, and the crowd chanted back, "Yes, we can," the Associated Press has reported.
"We are all culpable if we do nothing now," Norton said.
The 90-minute march was organized by Molly Smith, the artistic director of Washington's Arena Stage and her partner, and co-sponsored by One Million Moms for Gun Control, an advocacy group, along with the Washington National Cathedral and two other churches.
"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," Associated Press reported.
Participants in the rally included lawmakers from Maryland and the District of Columbia, including Washington Mayor Vincent Gray, as well as actress Kathleen Turner and Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children's Defense Fund.
Following the nationwide protests after the Sandy Hook shooting, President Obama had called for a ban on assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines while urging stringent background checks on the fire-arm buyers.
Obama’s gun control plans face tough opposition in the Congress, where the pro-guns lobby is strong. The proposed gun control measures also face fierce opposition from the firearms associations such as the National Rifle Association.
The pro-gun advocates claim that current laws are sufficient to address the gun violence, if properly implemented and the lobby has been pushing for better mental healthcare measures to curb gun violence.
The gun-right supporters had been voicing their opposition to the gun control measures and held a rally across the country last week.