UK & World News
Gun Control March Takes Cause To The Capitol
Thousands of people, including residents of the Connecticut town where 20 children were killed last month, have gathered in front of the US Capitol to call for stricter gun control.
Marchers were led by Washington DC Mayor Vincent Gray and other officials as the crowd stretched for two blocks along the National Mall.
Participants held signs reading "Ban Assault Weapons Now" and "Gun Control Now". Other banners carried the names of victims of gun violence.
About 100 residents of Newtown, Connecticut, were expected at the march, organised in response to the Sandy Hook shooting there that killed 20 first-graders and six school employees.
Parents, pastors and survivors of gun violence were also at the march.
"With the drum roll, the consistency of the mass murders and the shock of it, it is always something that is moving and devastating to me. And then, it's as if I move on," said Molly Smith, who helped organise the march.
"And in this moment, I can't move on. I can't move on. I think it's because it was children, babies. I was horrified by it," she added.
The Newtown shooting has rekindled the US national debate on gun control, bringing renewed efforts to increase restrictions on semi-automatic weapons - as well as fierce push-back from the national gun lobby.
The organisers of Saturday's march said they support President Barack Obama's call earlier this month for a ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.
The president is also asking for universal background checks for all gun sales.
The demonstrators also want mandatory gun safety training for all gun buyers.
But the National Rifle Association has denounced such initiatives, saying that any attempts to restrict or further regulate firearms "will fail".