Organizers hope to draw half a million to gun control rallyPosted: Updated:
By ASHRAF KHALIL
WASHINGTON (AP) - Thousands are gathering in Washington Saturday for a protest that organizers claim will be a defining moment in the long-simmering national debate over gun-control legislation.
Organizers of the March for Our Lives rally are hoping to draw 500,000 protesters; that would match last year's women's march and make this one of the largest Washington protests since the Vietnam era. It would also bolster claims that the nation is ready to enact sweeping changes to its gun control laws. More than 800 marches are planned in cities across America and dozens of locations overseas to be held at roughly the same time.
Washington is generally nonchalant about protests, but Saturday's gathering has prompted more attention and speculation than usual. Washington officials say they are prepared to handle the crowds - more prepared than they were for the women's march, which far exceeded the organizers' official predictions of 300,000.
The protesters, many of them high school students, claim that the youth leadership of this initiative is what will set it apart from previous attempts to enact stronger gun-control legislation.
In the wake of the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the students have tapped into a powerful current of pro-gun control sentiment that has been building for years. They have also partnered with well-funded liberal groups such as Everytown for Gun Safety, the gun control advocacy group founded by former New York mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg.
Polls indicate that public opinion nationwide may indeed be shifting on an issue that has simmered for generations, and through dozens of mass shootings. A new poll conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, found that 69 percent of Americans think gun laws in the United States should be tightened. That's up from 61 percent who said the same in October of 2016 and 55 percent when the AP first asked the question in October of 2013. Overall, 90 percent of Democrats, 50 percent of Republicans and 54 percent of gun owners now favor stricter gun control laws.
But even with claims of historic social momentum on the issue of gun control, the AP poll also found that nearly half of Americans do not expect elected officials to take action. Among the questions facing march organizers and participants will be how to translate this one-day event, regardless of turnout, into meaningful legislative change.
One way is by channeling the current energy into mid-term congressional elections this fall. Students in Florida have focused on youth voter registration and there will be a registration booth at the Saturday rally.
Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Organizers hope to draw half a million to gun control rallyMore>>
- Chopper 12 was overhead as protesters took part in the NYC March For Our Lives event.
Brooklyn Top StoriesTop StoriesMore>>
- A vicious attack on restaurant workers in Flatbush was caught on camera, police say.A vicious attack on restaurant workers in Flatbush was caught on camera, police say.
- Tragedia en NJ: Muere niño que cayó en lago congelado.Tragedia en NJ: Muere niño que cayó en lago congelado.
- A Bushwick couple who felt places for people of color and the queer community were lacking has started their own community space.
- Here's a look at what's going on this weekend in Brooklyn.Here's a look at what's going on this weekend in Brooklyn.
- New animated comedy on HBO Max pokes fun at British royal family
- Sights and scenes from the 2020 SAG AwardsSights and scenes from the 2020 SAG Awards
- Here's a list of some highly anticipated movies coming out in 2020.Here's a list of some highly anticipated movies coming out in 2020.
- News 12 Brooklyn wants to announce your wedding.News 12 Brooklyn wants to announce your wedding.
- A 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck Puerto Rico, killing one man, injuring at least eight other people and collapsing buildings in the southern part of the island.
- It's a celebration! Is your or a loved one's birthday coming up? Let us know! Send us your photos and you could end up on air and News12.com!