While many aiming to put an end to mass school shootings will be marching in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, March 24, local advocates will also rally in Sussex County.
The March for Our Lives invites participants to “demand that their lives and safety become a priority, and that we end gun violence in our schools and communities,” according to the national website.
Bethany Beach Christian Church is inviting local supporters of the cause to rally on Route 26 in Bethany Beach from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., rain or shine. Parking is available at Grotto Pizza while it lasts, and on side streets.
“I think that our church views it as a moral issue,” said organizer Bonnie Rae. “So as we watched what was happening on TV and were so impressed with the students taking the lead — hopefully, something will finally happen after all of these various gun shootings. We would like to support the students. … I’m hopeful for the future that we’ll finally, maybe, get some kind of decent legislation, bipartisan.”
Rae said the event is a “stand-and-support” rally, with no other agenda — no speeches, music, political finger-pointing or political party endorsements.
Participants are being encouraged to bring a poster with an appropriate message of support on that single issue. They are being asked not to wear or carry anything political.
“We’re not out to tell people to do away with their guns. We’re looking for sensible gun control,” Rae said. “We do not view it as political, and that is why we do not want any connection with political parties.”
It’s a “one-issue, one-hour event, so that our collective voices may be heard by our elected leaders and policy-makers,” the church announced. “We support our young people’s demand that their lives and safety become a priority and that we end senseless gun violence and mass shootings in our schools today. We call on Congress to pass legislation that will protect and save lives from gun violence.”
Participants are being encouraged to RSVP to Bonnie Rae at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A major part of the rally is its petition for enhanced gun control. Bethany Beach Christian Church will host petition signing times on four mornings leading up to the rally, March 20 to 23, from 9 to 11 a.m., at the church at 7 N. Pennsylvania Avenue, next to the downtown playground.
“We support the right of law-abiding Americans to keep and bear arms, as set forth in the United States Constitution,” the petition reads. “But with that right comes responsibility. We call on all the adults in Congress elected to represent us, to pass legislation that will protect and save children from gun violence,” including prohibiting the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, as well as closing the background check loopholes for internet and gun-show sales.
More than 700 sibling marches are scheduled in all 50 states, including in Wilmington, Baltimore, Annapolis, Philadelphia, Canada, South America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
Other local marches will start at Shields Elementary School in Lewes and at Turtle Park, 304 Stockley Street, Rehoboth Beach.
“These young people are now coming of age. They are going to be our future voters, and they are going to have a say about things like gun-control issues,” Rae said.