On Saturday, thousands of Americans rallied in Washington, DC, and across the country in the March for Our Lives, a stand against gun violence and in support of new restrictions on firearms.
The countrywide protests are an attempt to get Congress to finally take some action. For years, the side opposing gun restrictions — with the backing of powerful groups like the National Rifle Association (NRA) — has generally dominated Congress.
That’s not because more people agree with more permissive gun laws. Surveys by the Pew Research Center have found that the majority of Americans — 52 percent — support stricter gun laws, and even bigger majorities back specific policies like universal background checks, restrictions on people with mental illness buying guns, an assault weapons ban, and a federal database to track gun sales, with support for these policies sometimes topping 75 percent even among Republicans. With those numbers it’s surprising that America’s gun laws are still so loose.
The big hurdle is voting. Republican strategist Grover Norquist put it this way, back in 2000: “The question is intensity versus preference. You can always get a certain percentage to say they are in favor of some gun controls. But are they going to vote on their ‘control’ position?” Probably not, he suggested, “but for that 4-5 percent who care about guns, they will vote on this.”
The March for Our Lives could change that. Success isn’t guaranteed. But by showing that there are passionate people on the side of gun control, the March for Our Lives hopes to shake Congress into action.
That’s what these photos demonstrate: A group of people who are willing to leave their cities for the weekend, take to the streets of the US capital, and proudly march to try to break the status quo in America’s gun politics.