The Million Mom March took place on Sunday. Roughly 999,000 moms decided to stay home.
The marchers who did show up, though, had a lot to say.
“I don’t think guns should be legal,” declared Joan Davis, who traveled to the Capitol from Manhattan. “I don’t think the average person should have a gun.”
“Ideally, I guess I would like to see a total ban on guns,” held Bonnie Rock of suburban D.C. “But in reality, I would be satisfied with getting rid of the assault weapons and having some real bite to the laws in terms of people getting guns.” Rock, who carried a sign reading “Bush: Whore of the NRA,” believes the president is “destroying America.” Rock explains: “He hasn’t done anything right since he was selected to be president. So, there’s nothing the man has done for the common good.” She adds that she has already given serious thought to moving to Canada if George W. Bush wins reelection.
“If we had our druthers, [America] would be like England or Australia or other civilized countries,” admits Dick Berman from Rockville, Maryland. “I think we should target getting guns out of the hands of civilians, period.” Handgun murders, Berman believes, contribute to an “annual 9/11.” His goal is “to get weapons off our streets, out of the hands of civilians. Only the police should have weapons.”
Lisa Toomey, who flew all the way to Washington from the other Washington, explained: “I’d be happy with stricter guns laws.” Ideally, Toomey admits, “I would just say no guns. That’s where I’m at.” She adds that Bush “is a terrorist.”
From the podium, speakers–who included basketball coach Don Casey, former Montgomery County, Maryland police chief Charles Moose, and U.S. Representative Carolyn McCarthy–stressed the need to renew the assault-weapons ban. The agenda of many of the marchers, however, is a bit more ambitious.
Lost on the organizers, as well as the marchers, is the irony of holding a gun-control rally in Washington, D.C. More than a quarter century after the nation’s capital banned nearly all private firearms, the city’s gun-violence problem has not gotten any better. The latest statistics show that Washington is once again murder capital of the United States. For cities of greater than 500,000 people, the district’s 262 killings in 2002 made its murder rate higher than Detroit, Baltimore, Chicago, and other dangerous cities.
Perhaps this helps explain the sparse attendance at the Mother’s Day rally–even in the midst of a national debate on renewing the assault-weapons ban.
Like a march that promises a million moms but delivers much less, gun control is an idea that sounds better in theory than it works in practice.