This is a "sister" march in support of the March for Our Lives taking place at the same time in Washington, DC. In honor of the students killed and wounded at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, and other high schools and colleges which have suffered gun violence events, we will be featuring only speakers of high school or college age -- this is their movement. (Many of us have been fighting this fight for years, but these young voices seem to be having some effect at long last, so we leave it in their capable hands!)
The march will begin at the Allegany County Court House on Washington Street at 10:00 a.m. to coincide with the DC march. We will listen to speakers there, then march to the Western Maryland Railroad Station Plaza at Canal Place for more speakers. At this point in the march we will also stage a "lie-in" to send the message visually of the carnage wrought by gun violence in this nation. Finally, we will proceed down Baltimore Street to City Hall for our final rally between City Hall and the Chamber of Commerce building. Marchers are encouraged to bring signs, banners or other visual images of their messages for the day. There will be a petition circulated for signatures at the march which will be submitted to the White House, Senate and House leadership, and the Office of Homeland Security.
We march in support of stricter gun control measures in this country, specifically:
• Prohibiting the manufacture and sale of assault or military-grade weapons and "large capacity" magazines for civilian use.
• Ending the ban on gun violence research.
• Closing the terror gap by allowing the Department of Justice to block guns sales to anyone on the terror watch list. (Between 2004 and 2014, more than 2,000 people on the list purchased guns in the U.S.)
• Closing the loophole that allows people to buy guns without undergoing background checks through private sales, at gun shows and online. (An estimated 40 percent of all firearms transferred in the U.S. are transferred by unlicensed individuals not required to conduct background checks on buyers.)
• Banning convicted domestic abusers and stalkers from buying guns. (Abused women are five times more likely to be killed by their abuser if that individual has access to a firearm.)
• Banning “Open Carry Reciprocity” between states, so that states which have voted against open carry will not be subjected to the will of residents of other states where open carry is permitted.
• Mandating that the registry lists used for background checks be kept up to date and comprehensive, with penalties in place for omission of or failure to submit proper information to the registry.
We also march in support of improved and comprehensive mental health care in this nation. However, since those who have been deemed mentally unstable are only statistically responsible for between 3-5% of gun violence incidents in this nation, we are focusing our efforts on making weapons, especially large capacity magazines, more difficult to purchase, and enforcing universal background checks for ALL gun sales.
We are also aware that the majority of the roughly 35,000 gun deaths which take place annually in this country are suicides. Simply having a gun in the home increases your chances of death through suicide, accidental shooting, domestic violence, or other scenarios. Mass shootings are the horrendous, shocking exception to the rule in gun deaths in this nation. We march in support of getting guns out of our society in general.
According to reporting by CBS News in February of 2016: "Americans are 10 times more likely to be killed by guns than people in other developed countries, a new study finds.
Compared to 22 other high-income nations, the United States' gun-related murder rate is 25 times higher. And, even though the United States' suicide rate is similar to other countries, the nation's gun-related suicide rate is eight times higher than other high-income countries, researchers said.
The study was published online Feb. 1 (2016) in The American Journal of Medicine.
"Overall, our results show that the U.S., which has the most firearms per capita in the world, suffers disproportionately from firearms compared with other high-income countries," said study author Erin Grinshteyn, an assistant professor at the School of Community Health Science at the University of Nevada-Reno. "These results are consistent with the hypothesis that our firearms are killing us rather than protecting us," she said in a journal news release.