JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Gun control advocates rallied in Jersey City Saturday, speaking out in the wake of the massacre last month in Newtown, Conn.
The group One Million Moms for Gun Control led the rally in Lincoln Park in Jersey City. The group formed the same day as the massacre, in which gunman Adam Lanza shot and killed 20 children ages 6 or 7, and six staff members, before turning the gun on himself.
The group is calling on Congress to take New York’s lead and enact tough gun-control legislation.
A few hundred braved the cold to attend the march and rally, and turn up the heat on lawmakers in Washington.
“If concerned parents and citizens stand together we can make a very strong statement that we’re, we’re aware, and we’re voting, and we’re paying attention,” said Nancy Bangiola of Morristown.
Bangiola said it is not about taking away all guns.
“I think we represent the reasonable middle,” she said. “I think everybody here is pretty well aware of the Second Amendment.”
Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy attended the rally, and said the focus is on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
“We’re not taking guns from hunters and the like,” he said. “These weapons do not belong in any civilians’ hands.”
Rallies were also held in Washington, D.C.; Boston and Chicago, among other municipalities, according to published reports.
At the Washington rally, marchers chanted, “Newtown is our town.” Marchers such as Adrienne Leff were among those who expanded the call to addressing all gun violence.
“To just let people know that we’re here, and we’re not going away, and this happens every day and it needs to stop,” she said.
Leff’s stepbrother, Jason Hill Emma, was gunned down in his Capitol Hill neighborhood, not far from where the march started. The silent march down Constitution Avenue in Washington followed parts of the inaugural parade route, belying the struggle ahead for those who support President Obama’s gun control agenda.
Earlier this month, President Obama challenged the powerful gun lobby to “do the right thing” and end gun violence in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.
Obama on Wednesday also unveiled a $500 million package of executive actions and legislative proposals aimed at reducing gun violence. The package includes a call on Congress to ban military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and it would close loopholes in the gun sale background check system.
The president’s long list of executive orders also includes:
- Ordering tougher penalties for people who lie on background checks and requiring federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.
- Ending limits that make it more difficult for the government to research gun violence, such as gathering data on guns that fall into criminal hands.
- Requiring federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.
- Giving schools flexibility to use federal grant money to improve school safety, such as by hiring school resource officers.
- Giving communities grants to institute programs to keep guns away from people who shouldn’t have them.
Also earlier this month, 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.
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