Chiemelie Ezeobi reporting from Capital Hill, Washington D.C
In a bid to protest the recent school shooting that occurred in Parkland, Florida, which claimed lives of school children, Washingtonians yesterday thronged the Capital Hill, abode of the Congress.
The protesters, mainly children and teenagers, in their thousands, who braved the cold weather were very vocal in the call for gun control.
The Policemen from the Capitol, who did not disturb the protesters, however did put some boundaries in place. They put the figure of protesters at 4,000.
Prior to the protest proper, the protesters had set up a shoe infront of Capital Hill, symbolising all school kids who died in different school shootings. The shoes have since been removed.
Bearing placards, the protesters called on the congress, comprising the senate and House of Representatives, to not just disarm gun owners but to put out a proper gun control that will checkmate illegitimate gun ownership.
Some of the placards read, ‘Guns don’t kill, people kill people’, ‘Guns don’t kill until it’s your child’, ‘Their rights to live trumps your right to an assault weapon’, ‘Books and not guns’, ‘Protect from guns and its violence since the National Riffle Association will not’.
One of the protesters who spoke to THISDAY, Melissa Rusagara, said it was high time the government actually lives up to its responsibility in ensuring the safety of lives for school children.
The 18-year-old said, “The congress isn’t helping matters. If they don’t do something, come next year most of us will clock 18 and we will vote them out.
“We are tired of being afraid. We need education but we can’t do that if are schools are not safe.
“The problem is that we have no gun regulation. People who have mental issues can easily access guns without checks.
“Another unchecked source are students whose parents have guns and they access it. They end up going to school with it.”
On the recent suggestion to arm teachers she said, “That’s a lazy solution from the congress. Arming teachers is not the solution. Schools are not war zones. The solution is proper gun control.”
Also speaking, another student, Ryan Goosling said, “Guns don’t kill. People kill people. The government needs to do the necessary. We are tired of mourning. “
Amanda Dupoint said, “We are all for books and not guns. We need gun control. One would have thought that by now, the congress will do something given the increase in school shootings.
“Meanwhile, arming our teachers will only create an even more unsafe environment. They are supposed to teach and not act as security operatives.”
While many of the school kids were vocal about their different opinions, they were however unequivocal about their stance for gun control and safety in schools.