An airplane overhead carried the message “Rep. Rohrabacher: Vote 4 kids not NRA” as thousands of people across Orange County demanded Congress take action to prevent gun violence. The sign in the sky was aimed at Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, the congressman who represents parts of Orange County and has taken thousands of dollars from the National Rifle Association (NRA) and others in the gun lobby.
In addition to the March For Our Lives event that took place in Washington, D.C., rallies were held throughout Southern California. Marches took place in Santa Ana, Brea, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Santa Clarita, San Clemente as part of more than 800 events across the globe.
A group of marchers also met by the local office of Rep. Mimi Walters (R-Irvine), another member of Congress who bragged about her endorsement from the NRA.
Students, parents, and thousands of concerned citizens are sick and tired of inaction from Congress on gun violence. The Feb. 14 school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were murdered in less than seven minutes by a person wielding an assault rifle, catalyzed a nationwide groundswell of support for stricter gun laws.
“We’re scared our schools are gonna get shot up as well,” sixth-grader Sierra Reese told CBS LA.
In Santa Ana, 17-year-old Estelle Lee, a junior at Northwood High, admonished adults and sent a warning to members of Congress, saying, “Don’t portray this image of millennials as entitled children just so you can brush us away. Don’t you dare try to silence us.”
Marchers are looking for common-sense solutions to stop gun violence, including banning assault-style rifles and requiring better background checks for all potential gun buyers. In California, 73 percent of adults support stricter gun laws.
Unfortunately, members of Congress like Rohrabacher and Walters have voted to weaken gun control measures at every opportunity. Both were enthusiastically endorsed by the NRA in the last election, and both received substantial campaign donations from the gun lobby.
At the march in Washington, D.C., the crowd numbering in the hundreds of thousands chanted, “Vote them out,” addressing politicians like Walters and Rohrabacher who take campaign checks from the gun lobby and vote to weaken gun laws.
While an “A” rating from the NRA may have been an asset in previous elections, politicians like Rohrabacher and Walters are facing an energized electorate focused on protecting children rather than the interests of corporate pro-gun lobbyists.
Incumbent lawmakers across the nation are facing opponents pledging to protect students, not the NRA. Come November, those who marched in the streets will likely march to the voting booth to have their voices heard once again.