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6 minutes of silence at powerful gun control rally

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Updated March 24, 2018 03:42 PM EDT

(AP) - Chin high and tears streaming, Florida school shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez stood silent in front of thousands gathered for the "March for Our Lives" rally in Washington, D.C.

She continued to stand silently as a few crowd members shouted out support. She remained silent as tentative chants broke out. Her silence continued as those attending also fell quiet, many weeping.

The gripping moment stretched for 6 minutes and 20 seconds, the amount of time Gonzalez said it took a school shooter to kill 17 people and wound many others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, last month.

Gonzalez is one of several teens from the school to become gun control activists in the wake of the shooting. Their efforts have galvanized youth nationwide, with hundreds of thousands attending similar rallies across the country.

Gonzalez wrapped up the Washington, D.C. rally with some homework for those who demonstrated nationwide:

"One final plug," she said. "Get out there and vote."

Updated March 24, 2018 03:37 PM EDT

(AP) - Fifteen-year-old Brooke Solomon led thousands of demonstrators in a march through the downtown streets of Detroit. Ten-year-old Jack Thorne attended a similar event in Savannah, Georgia with his mom. South Salem High School student Allison Hmura told protesters in Salem, Oregon that students shouldn't have to learn to "duck and cover."

The youths were among hundreds of thousands at "March for Our Lives" events nationwide calling for stricter gun control in response to school shootings and gun violence.

"I'm here marching for the thousands of under-represented black and brown kids, especially in Detroit," said Solomon, who wants background checks in all gun sales. "I'm looking for tougher gun laws and legislation that includes banning semi-automatic and assault weapons."

In Savannah, Thorne held aloft a sign reading "Guns Don't Kill People. Ummm... Yes They Do," as he described how he and his classmates recently underwent active shooter drills in school.

And Hmura called on the nearly 2,400 people gathered at the Salem rally to fight for change.

"There cannot be two sides to our safety in school where we should be learning, growing and making friends — not learning how to duck and cover," Hmura said.

Updated March 24, 2018 03:04 PM EDT

(AP) - U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio said in a prepared statement Saturday that he supports demonstrators' rights to march at anti-gun rallies across the country, but called for activists to find common ground with opponents.

"While protests are a legitimate way of making a point, in our system of government, making a change requires finding common ground with those who hold opposing views," the Republican from Florida said.

Rubio's district includes Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were killed in a school shooting last month. He said that a ban on bump stocks (used to make guns fire more rapidly), improvements to the gun background check system and other efforts were achieved by finding common ground with those who don't want certain gun bans.

"And finding common ground is what it will take to pass our red flag law so we can take guns away from dangerous people," Rubio said.

Hundreds of thousands of people in cities across the United States are attending "March for Our Lives" rallies, calling on lawmakers to enact legislation to help stop school shootings and reduce gun violence.

Updated March 24, 2018 02:34 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (CIrca)- Protesters participating in the March for Our Lives rally in Florida are gathering near President Trump's Mara-A-Lago estate.

Updated March 24, 2018 02:30 PM EDT

Thousands of people are flooding the streets of downtown Los Angeles to demand stricter gun laws in the U.S.

The rally was one of several being held across California and the United States on Saturday.

Protesters held signs and chanted as they marched to Los Angeles City Hall for the "March for Our Lives" rally.

Zoe Lopez, a 15-year-old high school freshman from Garden Grove, said she's attending the rally to demand additional regulations on gun purchases.

In Sacramento, thousands chanted: "hey, hey, ho, ho, the NRA has got to go" as they assembled at the state's capitol.

Rallies in Oakland and San Diego also drew hundreds of demonstrators.

Similar rallies were being held in cities across America to march for gun control and ignite political activism among teenagers.

Updated March 24, 2018 02:20 PM EDT

The granddaughter of civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. told tens of thousands of "March for Our Lives" demonstrators gathered in Washington, D.C. that she too has a dream — for a gun-free world.

"I have a dream that enough is enough," Yolanda Renee King said, referencing her grandfather's famous speech. "That this should be a gun-free world. Period."

The crowd roared in response. The Washington, D.C. event has thousands thronging Pennsylvania Avenue to hear speakers including survivors of the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida, and singers like Miley Cyrus.

Hundreds of thousands of people attended youth-led, anti-gun rallies across the United States and the world on Saturday, calling on lawmakers to tighten gun control in order to stop mass shootings and gun violence.

Updated March 24, 2018 01:51 PM EDT

A series of protests held across the United States Saturday in support of gun control is shaping up to be one of the biggest youth protests since the era of the Vietnam War.

The "March for Our Lives" rallies are a call to action by student survivors of last month's school shooting in Florida that left 17 people dead.

At Washington's "March for Our Lives" rally, throngs jammed Pennsylvania Avenue for blocks. Tens of thousands of teenagers and their supporters roared their approval as survivors of the Parkland, Florida, assault spoke from the stage. One of them, Delaney Tarr, laid down the students' central demand, a ban on assault-type weapons, and declared "We will continue to fight for our dead friends."

The Washington crowd was well into the tens of thousands. A vast crowd also rallied in New York City and large marches unfolded in Boston, Chicago, Houston, Minneapolis and scores of other cities. More than 20,000 rallied in Parkland near the school.

Updated March 24, 2018 01:22 PM EDT

Prominent civil rights leader U.S. Rep. John Lewis says that the student-led, anti-gun protests occurring across the United States remind him of the early days of the civil rights era.

"I think it's amazing," Lewis said in an interview with The Associated Press. "They will be the leaders of the 21st century."

Lewis joined the "March for Our Lives" protest in Atlanta, Georgia, one of several anti-gun rallies being held across the U.S. on Saturday in response to last month's Florida school shooting and other mass shootings.

The Democrat also implored his Republican colleagues in Congress to "come to the right side" and to pass meaningful gun-control legislation.

Lewis wore a button with a large red letter "F'' on it, proudly displaying the grade he said he has received from the NRA. Lewis said hundreds of Democratic members of the House were wearing them today.

Updated March 24, 2018 01:05 PM EDT

(AP) - Tens of thousands gathered at a "March for Our Lives" rally in New York City on Saturday held a moment of silence to honor 17 people killed during a school shooting in Florida just last month.

Sam Hendler, a 16-year-old student from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, was at the rally to read the victims' names.

Another MSD student, Meghan Bonner, told the demonstrators that she wasn't surprised when she learned the identity of the shooter because it was obvious something was wrong with him.

"There was so much more that could have been done to prevent this," she said, fighting back tears. "I want to see change."

The rally in midtown Manhattan is one of several being held across the United States on Saturday in response to gun violence.

Updated March 24, 2018 12:30 PM EDT

(AP) - The mayor of Houston, Texas told thousands of demonstrators at a "March for Our Lives" rally that adults have a responsibility to protect all children.

Mayor Sylvester Turner spoke at the Tranquility Park event Saturday morning, one of several anti-gun rallies being held across the U.S. on Saturday in response to last month's school shooting in Florida and other mass shootings.

"We have a responsibility for those of us as adults, we have a responsibility to stand up and protect our children," said Turner.

Turner also chanted with the crowd "Now is the time" to "do the right thing."

Updated March 24, 2018 12:02 PM EDT

By: Cristina Flores, KUTV Staff

(KUTV) Utah Gun Exchange, a local group that runs a site where people can sell and buy firearms, says it was kicked-off of YouTube Friday, the eve of a big demonstration and march in Salt Lake City.

“We view this action as a malicious act of censorship,” said the group in a statement issued hours after they say YouTube deleted their videos.

The deletion of the videos happened on the eve of the “March Before Our Lives” rally, which was organized in response to the “March For Our Lives” rally which was organized by Utah students demanding lawmakers make changes that will make schools safer.

The students are asking lawmakers to make military-grade assault weapons illegal, expand background checks and implement a waiting period between the time a weapon is purchased and the time a weapon is picked up.

According to Utah Gun Exchange’s statement, YouTube issued new community standards on gun videos and that led to the removal of the group’s videos and channel.

“We demand YouTube reinstate our channel forthwith,” said the group hours before they were set to march to the Utah Capitol.

At the time of this post, there was no response from YouTube.

On the eve of their “March Before Our Lives” event, Utah Gun Exchange issued a statement:

Updated March 24, 2018 11:31 AM EDT

(AP) - Students chanted "enough is enough" and held up signs with slogans like "our ballots will stop bullets" at a rally in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were killed in a school shooting last month.

More than 20,000 people filled the park near Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for the "March for Our Lives" rally Saturday morning.

Others from the area traveled to Washington, D.C., where the main "March for Our Lives" event is being held. New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft let over 100 people, including families of victims of the Parkland shooting, use the team's charter plane for the trip.

Team spokesman Stacey James says astronaut Mark Kelly reached out to Kraft for the favor.

"It's a hard thing to say no to, especially involving these victims," James said.

Updated March 24, 2018 11:07 AM EDT

(AP) - More than 20,000 people are expected at the "March for Our Lives" rally nearest the Florida school where last month's deadly shooting occurred.

Police presence was heavy early Saturday at a park near Marjory Stoneman Douglas High as organizers set up and demonstrators streamed in.

Eighteen-year-old Sabrine Brismeur and 17-year-old Eden Kinlock came from schools 20 miles away to pass out water.

Kinlock said that may seem "like a small thing but it helps in the bigger picture."

By ASHRAF KHALIL, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Thousands are gathering in Washington Saturday for a protest that organizers claim will be a defining moment in the long-simmering national debate over gun-control legislation.

Organizers of the March for Our Lives rally are hoping to draw 500,000 protesters; that would match last year's women's march and make this one of the largest Washington protests since the Vietnam era. It would also bolster claims that the nation is ready to enact sweeping changes to its gun control laws. More than 800 marches are planned in cities across America and dozens of locations overseas to be held at roughly the same time.

Washington is generally nonchalant about protests, but Saturday's gathering has prompted more attention and speculation than usual. Washington officials say they are prepared to handle the crowds — more prepared than they were for the women's march, which far exceeded the organizers' official predictions of 300,000.

The protesters, many of them high school students, claim that the youth leadership of this initiative is what will set it apart from previous attempts to enact stronger gun-control legislation.

In the wake of the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the students have tapped into a powerful current of pro-gun control sentiment that has been building for years. They have also partnered with well-funded liberal groups such as Everytown for Gun Safety, the gun control advocacy group founded by former New York mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg.

Polls indicate that public opinion nationwide may indeed be shifting on an issue that has simmered for generations, and through dozens of mass shootings. A new poll conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, found that 69 percent of Americans think gun laws in the United States should be tightened. That's up from 61 percent who said the same in October of 2016 and 55 percent when the AP first asked the question in October of 2013. Overall, 90 percent of Democrats, 50 percent of Republicans and 54 percent of gun owners now favor stricter gun control laws.

But even with claims of historic social momentum on the issue of gun control, the AP poll also found that nearly half of Americans do not expect elected officials to take action. Among the questions facing march organizers and participants will be how to translate this one-day event, regardless of turnout, into meaningful legislative change.

One way is by channeling the current energy into mid-term congressional elections this fall. Students in Florida have focused on youth voter registration and there will be a registration booth at the Saturday rally.

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