Gun control activists flock to Brooklyn Bridge to demand tougher regulations on weapons

Campaigners are registering students to vote in November and demand greater gun control

Parkland High School survivor David Hogg student movement needs to use their ‘white privilege’ to give voice to minority gun victims

Thousands of young gun control activists have converged on New York’s Brooklyn Bridge, marching across the iconic structure in the latest effort to press for tougher regulations on weapons.

Youth Over Guns, a gun violence prevention organisation in New York, organised the event, which attracted campaigners from the across the city, the state and beyond. The group teamed up with March for Our Lives, the student-led organisation formed in the aftermath of the Parkland high school shooting in February that left 17 people dead.

One of the organisers, 19-year-old Ramon Contreras, said it was essential for young people to be at the front of efforts to curb violence and to enforce legal changes to make this happen.

“Gun violence extends beyond the pull of a trigger,” he told ABC.

“Some of the roots, it goes to a lack of funding, and lack of effort towards our public school educational system and lack of funding towards local gun violence prevention groups who work on this issue for years now and work on the ground with students, and they are getting the funding and attention that they need.”

In addition to rallies and marches, such as Saturday’s event in New York, which began in Brooklyn, crossed over the Manhattan and ended with an anti-gun rally Foley Square, there is an campaign to ensure young people vote in November’s midterm elections.

The Associated Press said this last week, students at more than 1,000 schools began registering young voters in lunchrooms, hallways and even at upcoming graduation ceremonies.

David Hogg, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, is spearheading the national effort along with the New York-based organisation HeadCount.

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Mr Hogg said students at schools in 46 states were participating.

Their goal is to have 90 per cent of the nation’s high schools host drives before the current senior class graduates in hopes of boosting young-voter turnout, which is traditionally low, especially during midterm elections.

Mr Hogg said efforts to change the law were pointless unless young people voted out politicians who were beholden to the powerful National Rifle Association, a gun manufacturers and users lobbying group that contributed $30m to the effort to elect Donald Trump.

The students want tighter regulations on guns, including universal background checks and training for people who own AR-15s and similar semi-automatic rifles. “We need to vote people out of office that are perpetuating issues affecting young people like gun violence,” he said.

“The youth don’t vote lawmakers into office and as a result they don't work for them.”

On Saturday, the marchers were joined by another Parkland survivor, Aalayah Eastmond.

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