By Jeremy Herb
Thousands of marchers are expected on the National Mall Saturday to rally for new gun-control measures, including residents from Newtown, Connecticut.
Organizers of the gun-control march said they expect 100 residents from Newtown, where 20 children were killed in the December massacre, and thousands of others from around the country, according to the Associated Press.
Reps. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) and District Mayor Vincent Gray are scheduled to speak, as well as representatives from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the Children’s Defense Fund, actress Kathleen Turner and Colin Goddard, who was injured in the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan is also expected to attend.
Organizers say they want Congress to pass new gun-control laws in the wake of the Newtown massacre, including renewing the assault-weapons ban, banning high-capacity ammunition magazines and instituting mandatory background checks, all measures backed by President Obama.
The organizers also are calling for a 28-day waiting period, mandatory gun-safety training, and a ban on bullets that shatter in the body.
Molly Smith, the artistic director of Washington's Arena Stage, organized the march with her partner. She told the AP that she had never organized a political rally before but was compelled by the horror of Newtown.
“With the drum roll, the consistency of the mass murders and the shock of it, it is always something that is moving and devastating to me. And then, it's as if I move on," Smith said. "And In this moment, I can't move on. I can't move on.
"I think it's because it was children, babies," she said. "I was horrified by it."