A march along the National Mall in Washington D.C. is planned for Saturday, Jan. 26th to advocate for gun control. Participants, some holding signs with the names of victims of gun-related violence, will quietly leave the area near the Capitol Reflecting Pool and walk down Constitution Avenue. The event will end with speeches and music at a corner of the Mall near the Washington Monument.
March organizer Molly Smith is a former Juneau resident who was moved by the recent tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut.
“We were both stunned by it. We were in shock,” said Smith as she recalled a conversation with her partner Suzanne Blue Star Boy in which they essentially decided to act before the tragedy faded from the public consciousness.
“And I just turned to her at one point and she said ‘Somebody has to do a march.’”
“I’m a theater artist. Gun control is not my world,” Smith said. But she believes gun control is everybody’s issue, and she questions why civilians are allowed to possess assault weapons.
“The right to own a gun is not a right to own any gun,” Smith said.
“I think this is a moment that has to do with a moral and spiritual question: ‘How are we in this country defining the Second Amendment?'”
Smith recognizes that the overall discussion may have to include mental health and violence in films and videos, but Saturday’s event on the National Mall will be limited to just gun control.
Some of their prioriites, Smith said, include “reinstating the assault weapons ban, banning high-capacity ammunition magazines, requiring gun safety training, require background checks, and outlaw bullets that shatter in the body.”
Smith expects participants will include Newtown family members and Virginia Tech shooting survivor Colin Goddard. Also marching will be Mayor Vincent Gray and members of the D.C. Council, D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen, Shannon Watts who is the founder of One Million Moms for Gun Control, actress and activist Kathleen Turner, and several leaders of faith in D.C. including the Very Reverend Gary R. Hall of Washington National Cathedral.
- Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg heard oral arguments in a lawsuit on the issue. He said he’ll try to reach a decision as quickly as he can.
- Walker said he has spoken several times with U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, whose vote could help determine the bill’s fate.
- State transportation crews are removing political campaign signs along state rights-of-way. Alaska law largely forbids signs anywhere visible from the roadway.
- The University of Alaska is offering up 400 acres of its Haines-area land for timber harvest. The timing of the university’s decision was motivated by a conversation happening at the local level. The Haines Planning Commission is considering whether to restrict resource extraction in the Mud Bay area.