The group said the event was inspired by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s message of nonviolence.
A cabbie drove by beeping his car’s horn and flashing a peace sign as some 400 marchers from the city’s five boroughs and several other states, including Michigan and Florida, crossed the bridge.
Valerie Wright of Manhattan said she would have felt “negligent” if she didn’t attend.
“Even though we just passed legislation here, it’s more far-reaching than just our state. Sometimes showing up is the best thing you can do,” she said.
“I feel like we can’t just step back when things like this are happening, massacres are happening, a school was attacked and many children were killed so something has to be done and I think it’s a first step,” Brooklyn resident Dot Cates told CBS 2′s Kathryn Brown.
The rally began with the rendition of “26 Names” by Tony-nominated actress Montego Glover. The song is a recitation of the Newtown victims’ names set to music by Tony-winning composer Jason Robert Brown. Twenty first-graders and six school officials were killed in the shootings last month at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
It ended with comments from Shannon Watts, the group’s founder.
“Our ultimate goal is to become the Mothers Against Drunk Driving of gun control,” Watts told 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck. She said she hopes to lead a fight nationwide with rallies planned for next week in Washington and other cities.
She acknowledged that others have fought the issue before, but said that the elementary school shooting was a turning point.
“This is a new generation of moms,” she said.
Watts wants Congress to reinstate the federal assault-weapons ban and to limit the amount of ammunition a gun owner can buy.
“I think it’s important that Congress knows we are dedicated to this cause and we vote,” said Kim Russel, national director of outreach.
Last week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the nation’s toughest assault weapon and magazine restrictions.
But many gun rights advocates say creating new laws won’t solve the problem and will only infringe on their rights.
Congress is expected to debate the issue over the next few weeks. The National Rifle Association says it opposes any laws aiming to restrict firearms.
(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)