Thousands of people, many holding signs with the names of gun violence victims and messages such as "Ban Assault Weapons Now," joined a rally for gun control on today, marching from the Capitol to the Washington Monument. Leading the crowd were marchers with "We Are Sandy Hook" signs, paying tribute to victims of the school shooting in Newtown. Washington Mayor Vincent Gray and other city officials marched alongside them. The crowd stretched for at least two blocks along Constitution Avenue; people came from as far as Alaska, organizers said.
About 100 residents from Newtown traveled to Washington together, organizers said. "I wanted to make sure this never happens at my kids' school or any other school," said a woman from a nearby town. At the monument, speakers called for a ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines and for universal background checks on gun sales. Education Secretary Arne Duncan told the crowd it's not about taking away gun rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment, but about gun safety and saving lives. He said he and President Obama would do everything they could to enact gun control policies.