Organizers hope to draw half a million to gun control rally

U.S. Republican presidential candidate John Kasich speaks to voters during a campaign town hall in Nashua New Hampshire

Students from the Parkland, Florida, high school where 17 students and staff were killed on February 14 will be among the 500,000 people organizers say could rally on Pennsylvania Avenue near the Capitol in Washington.

Within a month of the rampage, several companies cut ties with the National Rifle Association and stopped offering discounts, students from 3,000 schools held a nationwide walkout, and Florida's governor signed a comprehensive bill that included tightening gun laws.

"No more silence, end gun violence", members of the Communities for Zero Violence, which organized the Toronto rally, chanted as they marched north along University Avenue in the city's downtown area.

Organizers of the "March for Our Lives" rally in Washington hoped their protest would match in numbers and spirit last year's women's march, one of the largest Washington protests since the Vietnam era and one that far exceeded predictions of 300,000 demonstrators.

Along the way, organizers held a moment of silence in front of the US consulate for the 14 students and three staff members of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., who were killed on Valentine's Day.

"We've had students bringing knives to school because we don't know what will happen to us next", he said.

Speaker after speaker at March for Our Lives rallies around the USA urged lawmakers to take action on gun control or face consequences at the voting booth. We're here and coming to make a change", she said, adding "this isn't a trending topic.

"I have a dream that enough is enough", Yolanda Renee King said, referencing her grandfather's famous speech.

"It's never too soon to talk about this, only too late", Mary Ann Jacobs, a survivor of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that killed 26 teachers and students in 2012, told the protesters from the stage.

President Donald Trump was in Florida for the weekend.

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Sixty percent believe that making it harder to legally obtain a gun would result in fewer mass shootings; just 49 percent said the same in the 2016 poll.

"I am in no way saying 'Let's scrap the Second Amendment, '" she said.

In Atlanta, Lindsey Alexander, a freshman at Decatur High School in Decatur, Georgia, attended her first protest, inspired by hearing Parkland students debate the NRA on television.

"I'm looking for a big change and I wanted to be part of the change", Blake said.

During the march Saturday, the NRA was conspicuously silent on Twitter.

"And we can't only focus on school shootings though".

"This issue is going to turn into the No. 1 issue in this country".

More than 20,000 people filled the park near Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School for the "March for Our Lives" rally Saturday morning.

The Toronto protest coincided with at least 16 rallies planned in other Canadian cities, from coast-to-coast. A poll conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows that 69 percent of respondents and half of Republicans favor stronger gun control laws.

One way is by channeling the current energy into the midterm congressional elections this fall.

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