Los Angeles City Attorney and former mayoral candidate Mike Feuer, center, marches along with protestors as they chant and wave signs in downtown Los Angles during a March for Our Lives rally, Saturday, June 11, 2022. Thousands of people rallied across the United States on Saturday in a renewed push for gun control measures after recent deadly mass shootings that activists say should compel Congress to act. (Keith Birmingham/The Orange County Register via AP)

Led by young people, hundreds gathered for the March for Our Lives rally in front of Los Angeles City hall on June 11, calling for increased gun regulations. They expressed their outrage over the continued loss of life from gun violence and the influence and lobbying practices of the National Rifle Association (NRA).

March for Our Lives is a youth-run nationwide movement that was first started by the survivors of the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. An expelled student opened fire, killing 17 people and wounding others in the deadliest high school shooting in the country.  

Cate Hindman was among those who attended the LA rally. She was a student at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita on Nov. 14, 2019, when 16-year-old Nathaniel Berhow pulled a semi-automatic handgun from his backpack and shot five students, killing two before killing himself.  

“It was the most terrifying experience I’ve had in my life,” she recalled. “I remember trying to decide where to run, [asking myself] if I should run with my friends in one direction or in another direction. We didn’t know where to go.”

Hindman joined the scores of other young people in their call for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.    

Other young people like Hindman repeated the same concern for their safety and noted there has been no progress, year after year.

“It starts with raising the age of gun possession to 21. It starts with a ban on assault rifles and high-capacity magazines. It starts with having mental healthcare in schools that helps prevent gun violence in the future, said organizer Marianna Pecora. 

“We are the ones who have to go through the active shooter drills every semester. We are the ones who wake up in the morning and wonder if our school is next,” said Shaadi Ahmadzadeh, 19, who now attends UC Berkeley and was a co-organizer of the LA march. 

Four hundred similar protests were held on this same day in major cities and communities across the country, with the largest in Washington, DC. Large protests were also held Saturday in Texas, motivated by the recent killing of 19 elementary school students and 2 teachers in Uvalde.

In the city of Pasadena, students marching in front of Pasadena City College were joined by parents who marched while pushing their small children in strollers. They chanted and held signs that read, “Not One More,” “Protect Kids Not Guns,” and “Lives Over Bribes.”

Among the goals that have been listed on the March for Our Lives organization’s website are to make students’ lives and safety a priority; to demand an end to gun violence and mass shootings in schools; to push for immediate and comprehensive gun legislation and to demand that politicians stop scapegoating young people with learning disabilities or those who may have neuro- differences.

Instead, they want resources for counseling and resources for outreach to students who are in danger of resorting to violence.

They also want to vote out politicians who have high ratings with the NRA, have an anti-gun control voting history and are friendly with the gun lobby.

As the organization says on its website, “Every day, gun violence kills more than 110 Americans, and yet Congress still hasn’t taken action. We are done with Congress only offering us thoughts and prayers, we need urgent action that will save lives.”