In Washington, thousands of protesters joined a rally on Saturday for gun control. Proceeding along Constitution Avenue from the Capitol to the Washington Monument, marchers carried signs with messages such as “Sandy Hook: Never Forget” and “Ban Assault Weapons Now”, according to The Associated Press. Among them were about 100 residents of Newton, Conn., where Adam Lanza recently gunned down 20 first-graders and 6 teachers before taking his own life. Marching alongside the crowd were several city officials, including Mayor Vincent Gray.
Once at the monument, speakers called for a ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity rounds. They also called for universal background checks for gun sales.
The event was cosponsored by Molly Smith, artistic director of Washington’s Arena Stage, and her partner; and One Million Moms for Gun Control, a group which conducts similar demonstrations across the U.S.
“The issue is guns. The Second Amendment gives us the right to own guns, but it’s not the right to own any gun. These are assault weapons, made for killing people,” Smith said according to the AP.
“We are all culpable if we do nothing now,” said D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton.
“This is about trying to create a climate in which our children can grow up free of fear… We must act, we must act, we must act” said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
Duncan assured the crowd both he and President Barack Obama would endeavor to create new policies to address the issue of controlling gun violence.
Jan. 16, the White House had announced Obama would approve 23 related executive actions as part of the president’s plan to reduce gun violence. Jan. 26, the orders were executed. Republicans have criticized the president’s use of executive orders as dictatorial and in violation of the Second Amendment.
“I’m against having a king. I think having a monarch is what we fought the American Revolution over. And someone who wants to bypass the constitution, bypass congress ─ that’s someone who wants to act like a king or a monarch. I’ve been opposed to executive orders even with a Republican president; but one that wants to infringe on the Second Amendment, we will fight tooth and nail. And I promise you there’ll be no rock left unturned as far as trying to stop him from usurping the Constitution.” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) told CBN News in an interview in Jerusalem Jan. 15.
Thurs., Jan. 24, Democrats in Congress introduced a sterner assault weapons bill. The measure, written by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), would place bans on 120 “specifically named firearms” and those with a fixed magazine that can hold more than 10 rounds. The bill would also grandfather weapons legally owned before enactment and exempt more than 900 weapons for hunting or sporting purposes. That’s according to a statement from Feinstein‘s office.