Students silent no more on gun violence

Crowds gather during the March for Our Lives Rally in Washington DC

The protests were organized in the wake of a deadly mass shooting in Parkland, Fla. last month that prompted a renewed debate over the nation's gun laws.

The rally, which drew a crowd of 300 or more and was followed by a short march through downtown Fargo, was organized by Moms Demand Action FM, the local chapter of the national nonpartisan group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America that was launched after the December 14, 2012, Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that killed 27 people.

The man, Russ Acosta, told BuzzFeed News that his 18-year-old daughter had asked him to join her at the march, which was just one of more than 800 taking place across the country on Saturday.

At a rally near New York's Central Park, a moment of silence was held for the Parkland victims.

Organisers of the USA marches retweeted photos from sister demonstrations as far afield as Northern Ireland, Mauritius, and Stockholm.

Student protesters called for a ban on high-capacity magazines and assault-type weapons like the one used by the killer in Parkland, comprehensive background checks, and a higher minimum age to buy guns.

The accused gunman, 19-year-old former Marjory Stoneman student Nikolas Cruz, faces the death penalty if convicted on multiple murder charges.

"Anybody who's in high school right now has been growing up on school violence", he said.

FARGO - Sarah Light said she's exhausted of the suggestion that more guns would mean less gun violence in America, including in its schools. "As bad as it sounds, this is the norm for us". Many of us are responsible gun owners...

"Hunting rifles make sense, but no one has ever been able to explain why they need an AR-15" Westfall said.

The youthful USA organisers have won kudos and cash from dozens of celebrities, with singer Demi Lovato and Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda among those performing in Washington.

Actor Amy Schumer speaks during March for Our Lives, in Los Angeles, California.

Beyond major cities, they included rallies in Las Vegas, where a gunman killed 58 people at a country music festival previous year; in Parkland, home to Stoneman Douglas; and in Jonesboro, Arkansas, where the community is marking the 20th anniversary of a middle school shooting that left four students and a teacher dead.

"Keeping our children safe is a top priority of the president's", said Walters, noting that on Friday the Justice Department proposed rule changes that would effectively ban "bump stock" devices that let semi-automatic weapons fire like a machine gun.

Former US President Barack Obama shared his support on Twitter.

"The first step is to accept that we have a problem", Light said, adding that things like bulletproof desks in classrooms won't resolve the underlying problem. "Nothing can stand in the way of millions of voices calling for change", Obama said.

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