Anger and frustration were the reasons behind the rallies and marches seen across the country to advocate for gun reform in the wake of the mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York.
The national event was organized by March For Our Lives, a group founded by student survivors of the 2018 high school shooting in Parkland, Florida that killed 17 people.
The marches are in response to the May 24 shooting at an Uvalde Elementary School that killed 19 students and two teachers, as well as the May 14 massacre at a Buffalo grocery store where 10 people, all black, were shot in an alleged hate crime.
The organization planned the march to pressure elected officials to step up and pass laws requiring universal background checks. And in the words of one of its founders, David Hogg, "it's time for Democrats, Republicans, gun owners and non-gun owners to come together and stop focusing on what [we can't] agree on to focus on what we can, even if it's not much"
David was 17 when 14 of his classmates and three Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School staff members were killed. Like him, many names appear on a list of young survivors of massacres that since 2018 have mobilized students from all over the country who are now taking over the streets again.
In New York, the march crossed the Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan's financial district with banners and chants demanding changes at the Federal level. Organizers said more than 150 state laws have been passed since the group's last march, but this time they are pushing for changes across the country. On Wednesday, the House passed a gun control bill that would raise the age for buying semi-automatic rifles to 21.
President Joe Biden, who was in California when the rally began in Washington and New York, sent a message to protesters: "Keep marching."
Leading the New York walk was the state's attorney general, Letitia James. Before heading to the Brooklyn Bridge, James spoke with LPO. "We marched for Parkland, for Columbine and for all the people who had their bodies hit by bullets. Only in the United States, basic activities result in bloodshed and diversion. It's time for us to act," the prosecutor said.
"Every movement in this country has not been led by cowardly politicians, it has been led by young people, and that is why we are marching with them, to save lives. It's time for the Republican Party to do something. Enough of the analysis. We have analyzed to the point of paralysis. The United States demands action," James told LPO.
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