The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

January 26, 2013

Thousands march for gun control in Washington

(Continued)

"I wanted to make sure this never happens at my kids' school or any other school," Baekey said. "It just can't happen again."

James Agenbroad, 78, of Garrett Park, Md., carried a handwritten sign on cardboard that read "Repeal the 2nd Amendment." He called it the only way to stop mass killings because he thinks the Supreme Court will strike down any other restrictions on guns.

"You can repeal it," he said. "We repealed prohibition."

Molly Smith, the artistic director of Washington's Arena Stage, and her partner organized the march. Organizers said that in addition to the 100 from Newtown, they expected buses of participants from New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia. Others are flying in from Seattle, San Francisco and even Alaska.

While she's never organized a political march before, Smith said she was compelled to press for a change in the law. The march organizers support President Barack Obama's call for a ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines as well as for universal background checks for gun sales. They also want lawmakers to require gun safety training for all buyers of firearms.

"With the drum roll, the consistency of the mass murders and the shock of it, it is always something that is moving and devastating to me. And then, it's as if I move on," Smith said. "And in this moment, I can't move on. I can't move on.

"I think it's because it was children, babies," she said. "I was horrified by it."

After the Connecticut shootings, Smith posted something on Facebook and drew more support to do something. The group One Million Moms for Gun Control, the Washington National Cathedral and two other churches eventually signed on to co-sponsor the march. Organizers have raised more than $46,000 online to pay for equipment and fees to stage the rally.

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