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Thousands gather at March for Our Lives rallies nationwide to push for gun control

Demonstrators attend a March for Our Lives rally against gun violence on the National Mall  on Saturday in Washington, D.C.
Tasos Katopodis
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Getty Images
Demonstrators attend a March for Our Lives rally against gun violence on the National Mall on Saturday in Washington, D.C.

Updated June 11, 2022 at 6:40 PM ET

Supporters in cities across the nation filled the streets Saturday to once again push for stronger gun control laws, weeks after mass shootings in New York and Texas where in each instance the gunman purchased AR-style-rifles legally.

Thousands of demonstrators gathered at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., while others protested in hundreds of other cities in at least 45 states.

The group March for Our Lives, created by survivors of the 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Fla., organized the rallies, and says some even took place internationally in Spain, France, Switzerland, Italy and Germany.

In San Antonio, Texas – less than 90 miles from Robb Elementary in Uvalde, where 19 students and two educators were shot and killed – demonstrators marched to city hall, Texas Public Radio reported.

"Our leaders have to do what is right. Sometimes doing what is right is hard, but they're the ones that have to stand up and do what is right and make these changes for all citizens to be safe," veteran and teacher John Cedio said.

Several hundred activists marched in downtown San Antonio on Saturday to bring attention to gun violence and to advocate for changes to gun laws.
Jennifer Gonzalez / Texas Public Radio
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Texas Public Radio
Several hundred activists marched in downtown San Antonio on Saturday to bring attention to gun violence and to advocate for changes to gun laws.

In Georgia, activists from across the state traveled to Atlanta in support of stronger firearm legislation, Emily Wu Pearson of WABE reported. In attendance was Democratic state Sen. Jen Jordan who stood with the students and said, "We always hear in the Georgia Capitol, 'Good men with guns.' What we saw was those good men with guns stood outside when children were murdered. That is not the solution," she said, referring to the Uvalde police.

Demonstrators march across the Brooklyn Bridge during the "March for Our Lives" rally in Brooklyn, New York on Saturday.
Yuki Iwamura / AFP via Getty Images
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AFP via Getty Images
Demonstrators march across the Brooklyn Bridge during the "March for Our Lives" rally in Brooklyn, New York on Saturday.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York Attorney General Letitia James joined protesters as the crowd crossed the Brooklyn Bridge Saturday.

"The time to dam the rivers of violence, to stop the flow of guns into our city and to protect the lives of our children is NOW. Not tomorrow, NOW," Adams said via Twitter. "I'm proud to have stood with these young people today to say enough is enough."

In Louisville, Ky., a crowd of more than 100 gathered at Metro Hall, WFPL's Breya Jones and Michael J. Collins reported. Young people and family members of people killed by gun violence demanded stronger gun laws.

"If people in power continue to ignore the urgency, we'll simply vote them out," said Solyana Mesfin, a recent high school graduate. One of her classmates died last fall in a shooting at a bus stop.

School shootings have continued since the first March for Our Lives in 2018

March for Our Lives was founded in 2018 by students that survived the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., where a gunman opened fire, killing 17 students and staff and wounded 17 more. One month after the shooting, hundreds of thousands of protesters marched in cities across the country, in hopes of pressing politicians to pass legislation to prevent future school shootings.

No such legislation was passed, and the mass shootings continued. Saturday marked the first demonstrations by March for Our Lives in four years, sparked by the back-to-back mass shootings in Buffalo, N.Y. — where a racist gunman killed 10 people at a supermarket — and in Uvalde, Texas.

Two hundred and fifty-six mass shootings have taken place since the beginning of the year, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

Despite politicians from across the spectrum offering their thoughts, prayers and condolences in the wake of the Uvalde shooting, lawmakers remain divided on how to approach America's issues surrounding gun violence, with Republicans steadfastly opposed to new gun control measures. The House passed a gun control bill earlier this week, but it barely squeaked by along party lines and isn't expected to make it through the Senate.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.