HOUSTON — Thousands of people across the country on Saturday participated in March for Our Lives walks and rallies calling for gun control reform.
The youth-driven initiative began in 2018 following the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida.
"Our march is in response to the increase in mass shooting events, such as the Uvalde Robb Elementary School shooting and the Buffalo supermarket shooting," event organizers said. "The goals of the march are to place pressure on elected officials to pass increased gun regulation laws, connect the Houston area to a pressing issue and broadcast the voices of activists in the area."
Protestors were calling for what they described as “common sense national and state gun safety restrictions.”
“We’re tired of it. We need proper gun legislation with background checks. We need to stop providing citizens access to unnecessary lethal weapons,” one of the local organizers said.
Gun control is at the top of mind for many given the recent tragedies in Uvalde and Buffalo.
"What happened in Uvalde and other places represents a very sick society,” Gale Kutin said.
"It’s upsetting. I saw it from when I was a young kid, now, I’m 25 ... it's really frustrating to see it over and over again,” Ben Allen said.
The event featured several speakers from state representatives, nonprofits and local advocacy groups.
Among them was Mayor Sylvester Turner who made a push to the polls.
"Rally we must. Speak we must. But until we show up to the ballot box, nothing will change," Turner said.
The group said it’s a movement they plan to continue until gun control legislation is signed into law.
"Hopefully, this time is the final push especially since it is in our backyard -- Uvalde. It means a lot. It shows our politicians we're taking this seriously and something needs to change,” Allen said.
Cruz has introduced several pieces of legislation that he believes would help keep kids safe by improving background checks and securing schools.