7,000 shoes filled the Capitol lawn on Tuesday to mark the number of children who have died as a result of gun violence since Sandy Hook. (Paul Morigi/AP Images for AVAAZ)

7,000 pairs of shoes laid out in Washington, D.C., to honour kids killed by gun violence

Students across the United States are set to stage a walkout on Wednesday

Advocates for gun control laid out 7,000 pairs of shoes on the Capitol lawn in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday to memorialize the 7,000 children killed by gun violence in the U.S. since the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre.

Gun control has increasingly gripped the nation since a 19-year-old man gunned down 17 students and teachers at a high school in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14.

Activist group Avaaz placed the shoes to mark the gun-related deaths of 1,300 American kids each year.

“The culture on guns is shifting and we can all feel it,” said deputy director Emma Ruby-Sachs in a news release.

“Students are walking out of their schools, survivors are marching in the streets, and parents are here on the Capitol to honour the children we’ve lost and make a clear demand: not one more gun death.”

The Florida incident was the 17th school shooting in 2018 alone, and has sparked tensions between the National Rifle Association, the surviving students, and Democrats and Republicans both in state houses and the White House.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a gun control bill into law last week that raised the legal age to buy a gun to 21, prohibited bump stocks, allowed for some school staff to be armed, and empowered police to temporarily seize weapons from people deemed a threat.

The NRA has responded with a lawsuit in federal court, saying the age restrictions deny millions of law-abiding 18-20-year-olds their Second Amendment rights.

In front of the White House on Tuesday, the father of a boy killed in the 1999 Columbine mass shooting came out to show his support for the students who lost their lives in Florida.

Tom Mauser came wearing the same shoes his son wore the day he died.

“I think this kind of event with shoes offers a very powerful metaphor both for how we miss the victims who once filled those shoes,” said Mauser, “and also for how we see ourselves wanting to walk in their place, seeking change, so that others don’t have to walk this painful journey.”

A nationwide school walkout is planned across the United States on Wednesday to demand an assault weapons ban, universal background checks on gun purchases, and legislation that would allow courts to disarm people who display warning signs of violent behaviour.

Protesters plan to hold an anti-gun vigil at Peace Arch Park in South Surrey as well that day.

On March 24, the survivors of the Parkland shooting are organizing the March for Our Lives, calling on the government to “end this epidemic of mass school shootings.”

7,000 empty pairs of shoes for every child killed by guns in the US since Sandy Hook cover the southeast lawn of U.S. Capitol Building on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 in Washington, D.C (Paul Morigi/AP Images for AVAAZ)

7,000 empty pairs of shoes for every child killed by guns in the US since Sandy Hook cover the southeast lawn of U.S. Capitol Building on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 in Washington, D.C (Paul Morigi/AP Images for AVAAZ)

A volunteer lays out 7,000 empty pairs of shoes for every child killed by guns in the US since Sandy Hook at the U.S. Capitol Building on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Paul Morigi/AP Images for AVAAZ)

7,000 empty pairs of shoes for every child killed by guns in the US since Sandy Hook cover the southeast lawn of U.S. Capitol Building on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 in Washington, D.C (Paul Morigi/AP Images for AVAAZ)

7,000 empty pairs of shoes for every child killed by guns in the US since Sandy Hook cover the southeast lawn of U.S. Capitol Building on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 in Washington, D.C (Paul Morigi/AP Images for AVAAZ)


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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