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In Snowy March, Local Demonstrators Call For Gun Control

"I, for one, am glad it's snowing," Elena Villalon told a cheering crowd in front of Cincinnati's City Hall Saturday morning. The University of Cincinnati junior continued, "Because I see a lot of snowflakes, and together we make up a snow storm."

She was one of several speakers in the March For Our Lives event, one of a series of demonstrations nationwide calling for gun control in the wake of a mass shooting in Parkland, Fla., in February.

Villalon continued, saying the demonstrators would no longer accept insubstantial reasons for not changing gun laws. "Our Congress has had ample opportunities to update the law to support majority opinion. By their inaction they have been complicit in the preventable gun violence that plagues this nation. We say no more!"

The crowd echoed her, chanting "no more."

"Let's all work toward really sane, sensible management of guns," Ethel Guttenberg told the crowd. "No more killing." Her granddaughter Jamie was one of the 17 victims in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. "If there are any NRA people here, I challenge them to join us in getting rid of these weapons of war that were used in Afghanistan by our Marines and (have) no place, no place in society," she said.

Shriya Penmetsa, a sophomore at Mason High School, said, "Today, we show our support for victims and their families, but we will also rally to inspire concrete legislative outcomes. We need expanded background checks on gun purchases for a wider range of gun sales. We need our government officials to stop being lethargic about gun violence."

Credit Bill Rinehart
Demonstrators turn the corner from 7th Street to Plum Street on the way back to City Hall.

Ayah al-Zubi, an Indian Hills High junior said, "Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence that we have the inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Our inalienable rights should surpass the right to own a semi-automatic rifle, a weapon of war."

Congress wasn't the only target for blame. Miami University junior De'Vante Montgomery called out Ohio Senator Rob Portman and Congressman Steve Chabot for accepting campaign contributions from the National Rifle Association. "Any group or organization that is willing to lobby against gun safety measures to save our lives is a threat to our safety and our security. Any politician, Democrat or Republican, that receives their blood money needs to be voted out of office."

On the edge of the demonstration, one man on a bicycle yelled a different opinion at the crowd. He warned them not to throw away their right to defend themselves against the government.

After a march through Downtown, the rally returned to City Hall for more speeches, including words from Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, and Hamilton County Clerk of Courts and Ohio First District Congressional candidate Aftab Pureval.