An estimated 4,000 people took to the Chandler Bikeway in Burbank last Saturday morning demanding an end to mass shootings and calling on legislators to enact stricter gun-control laws.
The local March for Our Lives rally saw scores of people walk from the Mariposa Street portion of the path to Buena Vista Street and back again, carrying banners and homemade signs adorned with messages like “Disarm Hate,” “Arm teachers with resources not guns” and “Yes, guns kill.” Many in the crowd chanted, “The NRA has got to go,” while passing motorists honked their horns in solidarity with the marchers.
Konstantine Anthony, a disability rights advocate, was dressed as a Colonial-era American and carried a sign that read “Repeal the 2nd Amendment.”
“It doesn’t need to be repealed,” he said. “But it gets people talking about what it means, as a country, that we still have a law that’s 240 years old, where a gun is the answer, where violence is the answer. This conversation is bigger than just one kind of assault rifle.”
Carly Gilmore, an intervention specialist for at-risk youth with the Burbank Unified School District, organized the event and said it was to honor the memory of the 17 people who were killed in February at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., as well as those who were killed in the Las Vegas, Pulse Nightclub, Sandy Hook Elementary and San Bernardino shootings.
“Something needs to change, something needs to be done,” she said. “The first step is starting the action … Arming teachers is not the answer, more guns is not the answer.”
Several speakers at the march, including Burbank City Councilwoman Sharon Springer, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) and state Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), called on those in attendance to place pressure on lawmakers to stand up to the National Rifle Assn. and pass stricter gun-control legislation.
Schiff took his colleagues in Washington to task on their inaction on gun control, saying they are not doing their jobs.
“They’re not in fear of a gunman. They don’t require the courage to confront a gunman,” he said. “They just require the courage to confront the NRA; those that don’t, are just the worst form of coward.”
He said people shouldn’t just march for change but head to the polls during elections and vote for politicians who will represent their ideals and vote out those who don’t.
Friedman told the crowd that children in the United States deserve to live in a country where they are valued more than firearms.
She previously grappled with gun rights advocates in 2013 as a member of the Glendale City Council when they voted to ban the Glendale Gun Show. As a result of that action, she said during the rally she received “thousands and thousands of emails from around the country” that threatened her and her family.
“That’s what we’re up against with the NRA and their supporters,” she said. “We have to be stronger. We have to come from a place of love and not hate.”
In addition to the march, the rally also had a bake sale and a voter registration booth where adults and teenagers could sign up to vote.
Miles Gilmore, a student at Burbank High School and the younger brother of Carly Gilmore, said during the rally he doesn’t want to be afraid to say goodbye to his best friend at school in case he doesn’t see him again later in the day. He also criticized the NRA for claiming to care about student safety.
He questioned how the organization knows what students want in order to feel safe at school. “When they sit a thousand miles away in their cozy office,” he said.
“We, the students, want to be safe. We, the students, know exactly what we want,” he said. “We want stricter gun control.”