Americans rally for gun control

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Thousands of people, many holding signs with the names of gun violence victims and messages such as “Ban Assault Weapons Now,” yesterday took part in a major US rally.

The rally in Washington DC came days before the Senate begins debating new gun control measures proposed by US president Barack Obama.

Leading the crowd were marchers with “We Are Sandy Hook” signs, paying tribute to victims of the December elementary school shooting in Connecticut.

Speakers supported the president’s proposals for a ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines and for universal background checks on firearm sales.

Education secretary Arne Duncan told the crowd it was not about taking away gun rights guaranteed by the US constitution’s second amendment, but about gun safety and saving lives.

However, in the senate, some of the president’s fellow Democrats may frustrate his efforts. A dozen or so from largely rural states view his proposals warily.

The senate judiciary committee begins hearings on Wednesday.