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Hundreds of demonstrators swarmed the Capitol Hill office of the National Rifle Association on Monday to denounce the powerful lobby and push for new gun controls in response to Friday’s killing of 27 people, including 20 elementary school children, in Newtown, Connecticut.
Chanting “Shame on the NRA,” the protesters marched from Spirit of Justice Park to the NRA offices on First Street near the Capitol. After observing a moment of silence, the protesters read off the names of the Sandy Hook Elementary School victims. They then read model responses from an NRA questionnaire given to politicians in order to grade them on their adherence to the NRA’s policies.
"We're here today because the NRA has blood on its hands," said Josh Nelson, who helped organize the protest for CREDO Action, a liberal activist group.
“I'm protesting the NRA’s lobbying efforts to keep assault rifles in the hands of the American public and also for their campaigning against any common sense gun control measures,” said Jason Gooljar, of Arlington, Va.
He said he was among about 10 people who protested in front of the building after the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colo., over the summer.
“I'm glad more people have shown up,” he said. “Unfortunately it takes an incident like this to get more people mobilized.”
“The National Rifle Association is a powerful lobby that purports to represent gun owners,” Becky Bond, political director of CREDO, said in a written statement. “But in reality, it represents the deadly interests of arms dealers and gun manufacturers. It’s time for the NRA’s top lobbyists to stand down and stop trying to prevent Congress from enacting sensible gun control laws that could save lives.”
President Obama announced on Wednesday that Vice President Biden would be leading the push for stricter gun laws. In a speech at the White House that coincided with some of the funerals for the victims of the Newtown school shooting, President Obama insisted that these attacks are “violence that we cannot accept as routine.” Obama said he would “urge Congress” to take on gun-control legislation no later than January, especially a return to the assault-weapons ban, which expired in 2004.