President Biden encourages activists to ‘keep marching’, urges Congress to ‘do something’
Several anti-gun violence rallies took place in Washington, New York and dozens of other U.S. cities on Saturday, with activists pressing lawmakers to toughen gun control laws in the wake of several deadly mass shootings.
The largest ‘March for Our Lives’ demonstration took place at the Washington Monument in DC, although the estimated crowd of 30,000 was smaller than organizers had expected following two high-profile shootings that took place. shook the nation last month.
The DC event brought together several high profile speakers, activists, mass shootings and other survivors of gun violence, who implored US lawmakers to do their job and protect America’s children.
“If our government can’t do anything to stop 19 children from being killed and massacred in their own school, and beheaded, it’s time to change who is in government,” said David Hogg, a survivor of the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Father of another Parkland victim called on students to boycott schools “until our elected leaders stop avoiding America’s gun violence crisis and start taking action to save our lives.”
The second March for Our Lives on the National Mall, standing up against gun violence four years after the original, with thousands in attendance under the Washington Monument. David Hogg speaking: “All Americans have a right not to be shot, a right to safety.” pic.twitter.com/MHirplU49l
— Alejandro Alvarez (@aletweetsnews) June 11, 2022
And while Martin Luther King Jr’s granddaughter told DC that the issue of gun violence “is not about politics,” US President Joe Biden sent an apparently opposing message from California, encouraging activists to “keep walking” until opponents of stricter gun control are eliminated.
Keep walking, it’s important… This must become an election issue.
Today, young people from all over the country march again with @AMarch4OurLives to call on Congress to pass common sense gun safety legislation supported by the majority of Americans and gun owners. I join them in reiterating my call to Congress: Do something.
— President Biden (@POTUS) June 11, 2022
In New York City, protesters marched over the Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan City Hall, numbering “hundreds” or “more than 1,000”, according to various media estimates.
NOW is the time to stem the rivers of violence, stop the flow of guns through our city and protect the lives of our children. Not tomorrow, NOW. I am proud to have stood alongside these young people today to say that enough is enough. #MarchForOurLivespic.twitter.com/mlI1xAsCQk
— Mayor Eric Adams (@NYCMaire) June 11, 2022
Organizers of the ‘March for Our Lives’ said they were focusing on holding many small marches in at least 300 locations across the country, rather than trying to beat their protest’s record attendance numbers of 2018.
The new national protest against gun violence follows the massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 students and two teachers were killed on May 24, and a mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York , which left 10 dead on May 14.
In both cases, the attackers were 18-year-old men who had just purchased “aggression style” guns, sparking new calls to ban these guns and increase age restrictions.
Earlier this week, the United States House of Representatives passed several gun control measures, in a majority partisan vote, seeking to raise the age limit for purchasing semi-automatic weapons and establish “red flag” laws. Although the legislation is unlikely to pass the Senate in its current form, it has given Democratic lawmakers additional ammunition to blast their political opponents ahead of the November midterms.
Recent opinion polls show the poor state of the US economy and soaring inflation are still top concerns for the American people, even as issues of gun violence and abortion are driving votes increasingly important. Most political pundits expect Democrats to suffer severe losses in November’s midterm elections, which will cost the ruling party a majority in the House and Senate.