US gun debate: Washington rally for more gun control

Newtown residents were amongst the people at the rally

Thousands of people have rallied in Washington DC calling for stricter gun controls as they marched from the Capitol to the Washington Monument.

The crowd included residents of Newtown, Connecticut, where a primary school shooting last month revived a debate over security and gun safety.

They carried banners carrying the names of gun violence victims and daubed with messages like "Gun Control Now".

Speakers urged them to lobby politicians to back gun control reform.

'Fewer dead children'

Guns in America

Gun murder graph
  • While some 46% of households and 29% of individuals said they owned a gun in 1990, two decades later this had fallen to 32% and 21%.
  • DC has the most gun homicides; Connecticut has fewer than average
  • For more statistics, as well as the difference between a semi-automatic rifle and pistol, visit the BBC's In statistics: Guns in the US

Education Secretary Arne Duncan said one student had died from guns every two weeks while he was chief executive of Chicago's public schools.

But he denied that gun control was about limiting firearm rights guaranteed by the US Constitution.

"This is about gun responsibility. This is about gun safety. This is about fewer dead Americans, fewer dead children, fewer children living in fear," he said.

Speaking alongside lawyers and Hollywood actors such as Kathleen Turner, the speakers backed President Barack Obama's call for a ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, as well as wider background checks on gun buyers.

Mr Obama has also proposed giving school districts funds to hire uniformed police officers to guard schools.

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