Rally Against Gun Violence

On Monday, Feb. 19, at 11 A.M., approximately 500 people spent their Presidents' Day gathering at Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles, according to The New York Times. The occasion? To vocalize their concerns regarding gun control laws in the U.S.

Members of the Drain the NRA organization, including founder Laura Mannino, started the event by chanting to the lively crowd with messages like “We call B-S,” and “Throw them out," referring to the National Rifle Association. Mannino planned this event last Wednesday on Feb. 14, when the news broke of a 19-year-old man and former student fatally shooting 17 students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkview, Fla.

Individuals from both the Drain the NRA and Mothers Demand Action organizations gave definitive messages to the growing crowd, fighting for gun control legislation. As of Feb. 14, there have been 30 mass shootings in the year of 2018, according to the Gun Violence Archive. That follows the previous year of 2017 as the deadliest year for mass shootings recorded in modern U.S. history, according to Time Magazine.

Mannino started her organization in October of 2017 after the deadly shooting in Las Vegas, the largest mass shooting in modern U.S. history according to CNN. “[Drain the NRA organization members] realize that we have to take matters into our own hands... So, if we want to change the culture in this country, if we want to shift our laws, we have to start shifting the money. And we are here to drain the gun lobby and to drain the gun industry and to vote out every politician who takes money from [the NRA].”

Parents and children predominantly made up the crowd in attendance, one being mother Abigail Morgan. “I am here because I am fed up with gun violence, I am fed up with how easy it is for people to get a gun and wreak havoc, kill our children, kill innocent people. There is no reason why anybody should have an automatic weapon,” Morgan said.

Fellow mother, Kristy Sketeris, attended the rally with her three daughters: Mia, 11, Sophie, 9, and Allie, 6. When asked what attending the event meant to her, Sketeris said, “I’m not willing to sit at home and let America’s love affair with assault weapons be more important than [my daughters'] right to be alive.”

No known counter-protesters attended this event. Rally attendees dispersed into the streets of downtown Los Angeles as the event concluded at 1 P.M.