Thousands of March For Our Lives rally in Washington and across the country

Thousands of March For Our Lives rally in Washington and across the country

Thousands of protestors are expected to rally in Washington, D.C. Saturday, and in around 300 separate demonstrations around the country as part of a renewed push for nationwide gun control.

Protesters say lawmakers must take note of changing public opinion and enact reforms after seeing a surge in mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo, New York.

The organizers expect the second March for Our Lives rally to draw around 50,000 demonstrators to the Washington Monument. That is less than the original 2018 march, which filled downtown Washington with more than 200,000 people. Organizers are holding smaller marches at an estimated 300 locations this time.

Daud Mumin, co-chairman of the march's board of directors, and a recent graduate of Westminster College in Salt Lake City, said we want to make sure that this work is happening across the country. This work is not just about D.C. It is not just about senators. The first march was spurred by the Feb. 14, 2018 killings of 14 students and three staff members by a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The massacre sparked the creation of the youth-led March For Our Lives movement, which pressured the Republican-dominated Florida state government to enact gun control reforms.

The Parkland students then took aim at gun laws in other states and nationally, launching March for Our Lives and holding a big rally in Washington on March 24, 2018.

The group did not match the Florida results at the national level, but has since been active in advocating for gun restrictions as well as participating in voter registration drives.

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.

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Mariah Cooley, a March For Our Lives board member and senior at Washington's Howard University, said they are angry at the moment. This will be a demonstration to show that we are not stopping until Congress does their jobs as Americans. The protest comes at a time of renewed political activity on guns and a crucial moment for possible action in Congress.

Survivors of mass shootings and other incidents of gun violence have lobbied lawmakers and testified on Capitol Hill this week. Miah Cerrillo, an 11-year-old girl who survived the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, was among them. She told lawmakers she covered herself with a dead classmate's blood to avoid being shot.

On Tuesday, actor Matthew McConaughey appeared in the White House briefing room to press for gun legislation and make highly personal remarks about the violence in his hometown of Uvalde.

The House passed bills that would raise the age limit to buy semi-automatic weapons and establish federal red flag laws. These initiatives have traditionally been stalled or heavily watered down in the Senate.

Democratic and Republican senators had hoped to reach an agreement on a framework for addressing the issue this week, but they didn't announce an agreement until early in the evening.

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

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