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Outside the Capitol in Austin, relatives of Jackie Cazares, 9, and Annabel Guadalupe Rodriguez, 10, two of the 19 students killed at Uvalde’s Rob Elementary School, addressed a crying crowd.

US and Texas protesters join March for Our Lives rallies against gun violence
People gathered on the National Mall in D.C. for a March for Our Lives rally, one of a series of nationwide protests against gun violence on Saturday.-image-


Fort Worth — Standing outside the Tarrant County Courthouse on Saturday in 100-degree heat, a pair of moms wrote on the note asking whether to add a new item to their kids’ school supply lists next year: bulletproof backpacks.

Elizabeth Brown, a veterinarian, said she has started shopping online for such backpacks for her three children, aged 4, 10, and 12. He saw that each cost $200. High school chemistry teacher Jamie Martin said she saw one for her 8-year-old daughter for $150.

Both mothers doubted whether the backpacks could stand up to a round from an AR-15 – the weapon used by the gunman who killed 19 students and two teachers at Uvalde’s Rob Elementary School on May 24. He said he was excited by the idea. Preparing their kids to survive an encounter with a gunman in the halls of their school—and frustrated that 23 years after the Columbine High School massacre, school shootings, and active-shooter drills have become routine.

They were among thousands of protesters who marched through malls in Washington and cities across the United States and Texas in a nationwide demonstration for the March for Our Lives after a gunman killed 17 people at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High. It was a political movement at. School on February 14, 2018, in Parkland, Florida. Saturday’s protest was a sequel to the demonstrations on March 24, 2018.

Along with Fort Worth, demonstrations took place in the largest Texas cities – Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and El Paso – and in Amarillo, Longview, Lubbock, Farr, Rockwall, Wichita Falls, and The Woodlands.

In Fort Worth, a 58-year-old gun owner, Barbara Gerke, held a cardboard sign calling for raising the age limit for assault rifle purchases, expanding background checks, and establishing waiting periods for firearms purchases.

“No one is saying take all the guns,” she said. “No one is asking for it. We’re asking for common sense on the books, real laws, laws that will do whatever.”

Brown, the vet, wants the state to enact a “red flag” law—one that would allow courts to confiscate firearms from people who appear to be a danger to themselves or others. The idea of ​​arming and training teachers to face shooters stunned high school teacher Martin, who put up a sign outside the courtyard that read “Nobody else.”

“I’m just a science nerd,” Martin said. “I’m not a military officer.”

After shooting Uvalde, Brown and her husband considered keeping their kids home from school during the final weeks of the year—but keeping them out of fun activities at the end of the year didn’t seem appropriate. Brown said there have been shootings at daycare centers, churches, and grocery stores, so it doesn’t feel safe anywhere.

A few days after the Uvalde massacre, Brown attended his daughter’s fourth-grade graduation. “I was crying because those kids should have done this,” Brown said. “I should not be afraid to send my children to school. I shouldn’t think that they won’t come home when I leave them to go to work every morning. ,

There were also counter-protesters in Fort Worth: some gun rights advocates waved no-go flags at me and argued with gun safety supporters.

In Austin, protesters marched into the Capitol, trying to influence a legislature that has repeatedly loosened gun laws over the past decade. A relative of two cousins ​​killed in Uvalde – Jackie Cazares, 9, and Annabel Guadalupe Rodriguez, 10 – expressed their grief and anger to supporters of the gun safety law.

“While I was fearing for my life, I didn’t know my sister had lost her,” said Jackie’s 17-year-old older sister Jazmine, referring to the school-district-wide lockdown that caused chaos at Rob Elementary. It spread. “I’m incredibly angry, but I’m not going to turn my anger into hatred. I’m going to channel that anger, and I’m going to make some real change.”

Jazmine said she and her sister had hoped to spend the weekend after the massacre rehearsing for a Summer Academy of Arts audition. He said of the gunman: “That 18-year-old boy, you’ll never catch me saying his name. He doesn’t deserve to be remembered. Jackie does. I walked him across the hall, and probably waved at him.” And he took it from me. He took his friends, my cousins.”


 Protests also took place in cities across the country, including Atlanta; Boston; Brooklyn, New York; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Charlotte, North Carolina; Chicago; Cincinnati; Detroit; Los Angeles; Louisville, Kentucky; Minneapolis; Nashville; Orlando; Philadelphia; Phoenix; Portland, Maine; Providence, Rhode Island; San Francisco; St. Louis; and Salt Lake City. Protests also took place in state homes in Iowa, Michigan, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Vermont, Wisconsin, and elsewhere.

David Hogg, who helped organize the March for Our Lives movement after surviving the Parkland shooting, told a crowd in Washington that gun violence has killed nearly 200,000 people in the United States since then.

“All Americans have the right not to be shot, the right to be protected,” he said. “Nowhere in the Constitution is unrestricted access to weapons of war a guaranteed right. When we look at the innocent children of Uvalde, we have seen the loss of the AR-15. Small mutilated and mutilated Little coffins full of dead bodies. This should fill us with anger and demand for change – not endless debate but demand for change, now.”

He continued: “If our government can’t do anything to stop 19 kids from being mauled and murdered in their own school, it’s time to change who is in government. As we gather here today Well, the next shooter is already plotting his own attack, while the federal government pretends it can do nothing to stop it. Since the Texas shootings, the Senate has done only one thing: they have gone on vacation.

Already this year, the US has experienced more than 250 mass shootings, including 34 since Uvalde, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

This week, the US House passed legislation to raise the minimum age to purchase a semi-automatic rifle to 21, ban high-capacity magazines, and allow courts to confiscate weapons from people who have been found to own or use others. Considered a threat to – also known as a red flag law. Such sweeping messages stand no chance of garnering the support from the 60 senators needed to pull off a filibuster. A bipartisan group of US senators, Chris Murphy of Connecticut representing Democrats and John Cornyn of Texas representing Republicans, are discussing more modest proposals, including red-flag legislation.

At the rally, Hogg said he supported any measure that would lower the death toll and pointed to legislative successes since 2018, including background checks in Virginia and a 3-day waiting period for gun purchases. , and raising the minimum age for gun ownership. Florida. He also said that more Republicans and independents, and responsible gun owners, were joining the movement for gun safety. “It’s not a political issue, it’s a moral issue,” he said, calling for more spending on mental health.

Speaking of Uvalde, Hogg criticized the idea that “more good people with guns” are the answer, noting that “19 good people with guns, heavily armored and trained”, gathered outside the classrooms where Uvalde The gunman hid and failed to save the victim. “First responders need to be the last resort, not the first, to protect our children from gun violence, because the reality is that putting more police in schools hasn’t worked, and it won’t,” he said. “We have to stop these shooters before they come on campus.”

Hogg said the movement was neither pro-gun nor anti-gun, but pro-peace. “Assault rifles are designed for only one purpose, to be a killing machine,” he said. “Our enemy is not the left or the right, our common enemy is gun violence.”

In a tweet on Saturday morning, President Biden noted that young Americans were once again marching “to call on Congress to pass commonsense gun safety legislation supported by the majority of Americans and gun owners”, adding: “I join them by reiterating my call” to Congress: Do something.

Randy Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, which has 65,000 members in Texas, told the crowd in Washington: “Schools should be places of hope, not of fear. Schools should be safe sanctuaries, not fortresses. This is our fight, our fight for a welcoming and safe environment where everyone feels welcome and safe.”

She said: “We are facing a typical American pandemic, a toxic brew of guns and hate that is killing more than 100 people every day.” Emphasizing that many responsible gun owners were part of the movement for gun safety, she said: “The bottom line is that we have to get guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them, and we have to get on our streets.” From Weapons of War.

 Other speakers at the event in Washington included Fred Gutenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter was murdered in Parkland; Manuel Oliver, whose 17-year-old son was killed in Parkland; and Garnell Whitfield Jr., whose 86-year-old mother was murdered at a supermarket in Buffalo on May 14, along with nine others. Also addressing the crowd was another Parkland survivor, Axe Gonzalez; Representative Corey Bush, Democrat from Missouri, who said an abusive colleague had once pointed a gun at him; Washington Mayor Muriel E. Bowser; and Yolanda King, granddaughter of Martin Luther King Jr.

In San Antonio, protesters marched from Milam Park to City Hall, chanting “No More Silence-and Gun Violence” and “Hey Hey Ho – Greg Abbott has to go,” referring to the Republican governor, who Has opposed calls for a special legislative session to address gun violence.

Some protesters clarified that they supported the Second Amendment but did not recognize gun rights as absolute. A San Antonio protester holds a sign saying, “We are PRO 2nd Amendment, PRO background checks, PRO red flag laws, PRO waiting periods, PRO-LIFE.”

In Dallas, protesters marched from Daly Plaza to City Hall, some condemning the National Rifle Association. Others chanted, “Two, four, six, eight. We need action, not debate.”

In Houston, a youth protester recited the names of Uvalde victims, and led the crowd in chanting “we demand change”. Rodney Ellis, a Harris County commissioner, praised those who turned out: “My simple message to you is: Don’t give up. You’ve come a long way. You’ve fought so hard. And just keep going. ” State Representative Ann Johnson, a Democrat, recalled threats from gun owners when she fought against Texas’s permitless carry law, which went into effect last year. “DNA is more important than the NRA, and it’s our job to tell them that human lives are more important than rifle lives,” said state Representative Penny Shaw, another Democrat.

Democratic congressman Al Green, 74, of Houston, told the young crowd: “My generation hasn’t done what it should have done to keep guns out of the hands of violent criminals. Your time has come. And for those who don’t. Says 18-year-olds should be able to buy weapons of war, here’s what I say: Tell the ghosts of people who died while shopping at Topps Food Market [in Buffalo]. Let Uvalde’s school I salute the spirit of our children who lost their lives in me. Please explain it if you want, to those people whose hearts are broken because guns killed and killed their children. To remove guns from the hands of 18 year olds The time has come.”

Houston protesters later marched from City Hall to the downtown office of Ted Cruz, another Texas senator, to condemn him. Cruz, a Republican, has slammed the new gun restrictions, arguing that schools should have more armed officers and limit the number of admissions to schools to make it harder for intruders to enter.

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