Students joined the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence for a gathering in Washington, D.C. Tuesday in order to hold a rally on the west side of the Capitol Building.
A crowd of about 20 gathered before the 11:00 AM start time and was then moved farther down the hill by Capitol Police due to safety concerns outlined in the Capitol Police manual for special events. Two Georgetown University students and one student from American University delivered speeches about the impact of gun violence on their lives. Both of the Georgetown students were young women from Newtown, Conn., the site of a mass shooting at an elementary school in 2012.
The protesters demanded change from the Federal government while using an often malfunctioning megaphone and attempting to be heard over the sound of traffic. The speakers emphasized the issue of complacency not just within the government, but within society itself. The speaker from American University, a young man who worked with the Brady Campaign, quoted a speech on gun control that was given by Bobby Kennedy just a few weeks before he was shot and killed by Sirhan Sirhan in Los Angeles on the night of the California primary.
After the students finished their speeches, D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton gave a speech in which she stated that she can only do as much as the students could and would continue to draw attention to the issue. After giving statements to multiple media sources, the students marched to Republican Rep. John Boehner’s (OH-08) office, where they demanded legislation on gun control. The protesters specifically called for background checks and mandatory waiting periods.
The Brady Campaign was started in 1974 as the National Council to Control Handguns, but was later named in honor of James Brady, the former White House Press Secretary under President Ronald Reagan. Brady was wounded in the head by President Reagan’s would be assassin in 1981.