Gun Control March Lacked Numbers and Impact, Critic Says

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:05 PM EDT

( - It wasn't a "Million Mom March" -- it was a "thousand gang limp," said one Second Amendment supporter, describing Sunday's anti-gun march in Washington.

The Washington Post, which ran the story on page B-1, said "thousands" of people, mostly women, marched to "end gun violence" on Sunday.

The newspaper described the rally as "the largest gun-control demonstration in four years," then went on to say, "The rally lacked star power, and certainly the numbers, of the first Million Mom March in 2000, when hundreds of thousands of women flooded the Mall on Mother's Day."

The Washington Post said organizers of this year's event estimated the number of attendees "at close to 3,000." The Associated Press put the number at 2,000, according to John Michael Snyder, public affairs director of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA).

Snyder said the rally shows "the good citizens of the United States of America would rather spend Mother's Day enjoying their time with the mothers of America than wasting it on Brady bunch nonsense."

The so-called "Halt the Assault" rally was organized by the Million Mom March in connection with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. The two groups merged after the first Million Mom March.

According to Snyder, Sunday's march "drew such a pitiful crowd of supporters that automobile traffic on the bridges crossing the Potomac River from Virginia into Washington, D.C. flowed more quickly than normal " - despite full-page newspaper ads urging gun control supporters to attend the rally.

Snyder suggested that given the cost of the newspaper ads and the relatively low march turnout, the Brady Campaign is "wasting contributers' money."

The marchers demanded an extension of the ban on certain semi-automatic weapons, which is set to expire in September. But Snyder said the low turnout at Sunday's rally "shows clearly that there certainly is not massive popular support for extending the ban on so-called assault weapons beyond the September sunset date.

"The fact of the matter is that there never was such support for the ban," Snyder said.

He suggested that if the Brady Campaign really wants to boost public safety, "let them join us in supporting congressional moves to overcome foot-dragging on the part of the Transportation Security Administration regarding the arming of commercial airline pilots."

'Big Pink Rig'

Undeterred by the lackluster showing at Sunday's gun-control rally, march organizers said the "Halt the Assault Tour" will now travel across the continent "to raise public awareness" about the impending demise of the "assault weapons ban."

In a press release issued on Sunday, the gun-control group announced that "thousands of committed activists today kicked off a national campaign to save America's assault weapons law, scheduled to expire in September, after a day of pleas that President Bush keep his campaign promise to rescue the ban."

Activists will travel the nation in a 26-foot pink recreational vehicle that will stop in dozens of cities, starting with a visit to the site of the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia this coming Thursday. The tour will cover at least 20 states and include stops at both the Democratic and Republican national conventions, the Million Mom March announced.

"America doesn't want to turn back the clock, and see these reckless killing machines return to our streets just as our children are going back to school," said Shikha Hamilton, national spokeswoman for the Million Mom March. "President Bush has the power to save the assault weapons ban. All he has to do is pick up the phone."

It's up to Congress to renew the gun ban, and although President Bush has indicated he supports renewal, he has not discussed it or pressured Congress to act.

"There are 127 days left, beginning today, before the assault weapons ban expires. There are only about 50 legislative days left -- when Congress can receive President Bush's clear call for action on renewal," said Michael Barnes, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence united with the Million Mom March.

"We will not rest. We will do everything we can to ensure that all Americans are aware of this deadline. There are literally lives hanging in the balance."

The "Big Pink Rig" is scheduled to visit Richmond, Virginia; Raleigh, North Carolina; St. Louis, Missouri; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Cleveland, Ohio; Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Portland, Maine; Boston, Massachusetts; New York, New York; Detroit, Michigan; Denver, Colorado; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Phoenix, Arizona; Portland, Oregon; and Seattle, Washington. The Rig will likely tour California, New Hampshire, Indiana, Illinois and other states as well, the Million Mom March announced.

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