Protesters descend on NRA headquarters to demand gun control: ‘If only thoughts and prayers were bulletproof’

American mood turns angry as hundreds hold candlelit vigil and call for stronger gun laws

Jenna Portnoy
Tuesday 06 August 2019 11:40 BST
Ohio governor drowned out at Dayton vigil: 'Do something'

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Louise Thomas

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Several hundred protesters gathered on Monday night in front of the headquarters of the National Rifle Association in Fairfax County, Virginia, to play out what by now has become a routine: Call for stronger gun laws. Repeat.

Days after two mass shootings, northern Virginia chapters of Brady and March for Our Lives organised the “Vigil for Remembrance and Change”.

Students read the names of the El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, victims followed by moments of silence.

Activists chanted “Enough is enough! Not one more,” and held homemade signs. One read, “If only thoughts and prayers were bulletproof.” Another read, “NRA, take their tax exempt away.”

That message was for Capitol Hill, where the Republican-controlled Senate has declined to consider legislation passed by the majority-Democratic House that would strengthen background checks.

“Is it political to say I’m tired of coming to this building and the only thing that has changed is the body count?” Jennifer Wexton, the Democratic representative for Virginia, asked the crowd.

“No!” they responded. Cars driving by honked to show support, and activists responded with fists and the peace sign.

The protest included people who go to the site on the 14th day of each month in remembrance of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary on 14 December, 2012.

That includes retirees John Sterling, 64, and Michelle Crouch, 57, who go on mornings, hoping NRA employees inside the office building will hear them.

“We’re adding to the number of people standing here,” Mr Sterling said. “Instead of declining over time, it’s growing.”

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The NRA on Sunday tweeted a statement of sympathy for the families and victims of the shootings and appreciation for first responders.

“The NRA is committed to the safe and lawful use of firearms by those exercising their Second Amendment freedoms,” it said. “We will not participate in the politicizing of the these tragedies, but, as always, we will work in good faith to pursue real solutions that protect us all from people who commit these horrific acts.”

The Washington Post

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