WASHINGTON (Circa) -- Candace Robinson Onyebueke's life changed forever after her niece was shot and killed during a sleepover in Chicago, Ill.
"It was crazy to know that an 11 year old girl who was basically at a sleepover minding her business having a good time and the bullet just came through the window and it was a stray and it landed in the wrong spot," Onyebueke said.
Onyebueke believes that moment helped harden her stance on gun control. Despite her views, she says she shot a gun for the first time one month ago.
"I cried, I cried because just the power in itself was...it was terrible. It was like a terrible feeling to know that this is what people are actually walking around doing to one another," Onyebueke said. "I vowed after that, I did it once. I'll never pick up another. I'm just not interested."
The aunt, who also hails from Chicago, was just one of thousands who gathered in Washington, D.C. to stand with students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Their reasoning for protesting is to curb gun violence and put a stop to the usage of assault rifles.
Organizers of the rally estimate over 800,000 people were in attendance for the march that lasted up to five hours on Saturday.
Mary Palowitch lost her cousin during the shooting at Columbine High School in Colo. He was one of the freshmen killed in the 1999 mass shooting. Palowitch's son also coincidentally committed to Virginia Tech on the same day a shooting on their campus occurred in 2006.
"I support the right to bear arms but I don't think our founding fathers ever intended for it to be assault weapons. I think that (her cousin's death) cemented the opinion that I had," Palowitch told Circa as she was marching towards the stage where the main rally would take place. "Pretending that if we not do anything isn't helping. I can't believe it's been this long and there have been so many shootings since then."
Michael Lannes, whose father worked for a gun company, was held up at his office by a gunman. He was ordered to lay down on the floor along with other co-workers.
"He aimed the gun at me and pulled the trigger. Come to find out he had the wrong bullet in the right gun. The gun did not fire. If he had the right bullet, I wouldn't be here today...I'm going to tell you it was scary," Lannes said.
For weeks after the incident, Lannes says he would "freak out" every time someone came into his office who he didn't know. He says his fear lasted for a long time.
"I hope these kids will generate enough umph to go elect and get these guys that are protecting the NRA out," he said.
Palowitch acknowledges there are a combination of factors that have impacted the country's current climate regarding gun violence.
MOVING: “Yes, I am a Parkland survivor and an MSG student, but before this I was a regular black girl and after this I am still black and I am still regular and I will fight for all of us!” Aalayah Eastmond said at the #MarchForOurLives— ABC 7 News - WJLA (@ABC7News) March 24, 2018
More: https://t.co/PnteZ6cTvc pic.twitter.com/If7PRuACzF
"These actions are comprehensive. It's the guns, it's also mental health. There's a lot of issues," she said. "Something's got to change."
Onyebueke believes there is a changing tide in the conversation regarding guns in the United States. But she also says the change is happening because the violence is affecting "people on the top."
"It has to affect the people that are doing well - the well off people of the world in order to actually create those changes. It creates a situation where everyone has no choice. They have no choice but to listen, they have no choice but to come together," Onyebueke said. "As you can see in this situation today, you don't have the option now to sit back and say oh it's over there it's not over here."