Following last month’s massacre at a Texas elementary school, tens of thousands of people are expected to demonstrate in Washington, D.C., and throughout the country on Saturday, urging Congress to approve measures aimed at reducing gun violence.
The gun-control group March for Our Lives (MFOL), which was created by student survivors of the Parkland, Florida, high school murder in 2018, claimed it had scheduled more than 450 events for Saturday, including in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago.
Hundreds of thousands of people attended the organization’s 2018 march on Washington, which took place weeks after 17 people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, to pressure Congress to take legislative action, despite Republican opposition preventing any new gun restrictions from passing the Senate.
President Joe Biden, a Democrat who asked Congress earlier this month to prohibit assault weapons, enhance background checks, and pursue other gun control measures, said he backed Saturday’s protests.
In a tweet, Biden stated, “Today, young people throughout the country marched with @AMarch4OurLives to call on Congress to implement reasonable gun safety legislation backed by the majority of Americans and gun owners.” “I join them in calling on Congress to do something.”
According to organizers, this year’s gathering in Washington has a clear message for political leaders: Your inactivity is killing Americans.
In an emailed message, Trevon Bosley, an MFOL board member, wrote, “We will no longer allow you to sit back as people continue to die.”
On May 24, a shooter in Uvalde, Texas, killed 19 children and two instructors, ten days after another gunman in Buffalo, New York, killed ten Black people in a racist attack at a grocery shop.
The country’s continuing debate about gun violence has taken on new urgency in the wake of the recent mass murders, yet the chances for congressional action remain dubious.
A bipartisan committee of Senate negotiators has promised to achieve an agreement in recent weeks, but they have yet to do so. Their efforts are concentrated on relatively minor reforms, such as encouraging states to approve “red flag” legislation that allow police to seize weapons from people who are judged a risk to others.
The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives enacted a comprehensive package of gun safety regulations on Wednesday, but the bill has little chance of passing the Senate, where Republicans have resisted gun restrictions as infringing on the Second Amendment right to keep and bear weapons.
David Hogg and X Gonzalez, Parkland survivors and co-founders of MFOL; Becky Pringle and Randi Weingarten, presidents of the two biggest U.S. teachers unions; and Yolanda King, granddaughter of civil rights pioneer Martin Luther King, Jr. are expected to speak at the Washington event. Members of MFOL have spent the week in Washington, DC, meeting with politicians to tackle gun violence.
Counter-protesters are also expected at the protests, according to organizers.
On Saturday morning, a persistent rain began in Washington, threatening to reduce turnout.