Published: Wed, March 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

7K pairs of shoes placed near US Capitol for child gun victims

7K pairs of shoes placed near US Capitol for child gun victims

"The majority of gun owners want gun control and we're putting lives of these children at the feet of Congress and saying, 'Catch up, act now, let's end this'".

The shoes, which came from family members of victims, celebrities and citizens across the country, were placed early Tuesday morning and are expected to stay until late afternoon, the group said.

From 8:30 am to 2 pm, the shoes were displayed on the southeast lawn in the hope of sending a clear message to Congress: Reform gun control legislation or more children will be killed by gun violence.

One of the parents in attendance Tuesday was Tom Mauser, whose son was killed in the Columbine school massacre. She said open access to weapons is "giving power to trembling hands".

The event was planned by Avaaz, an worldwide advocacy group, that has done similar events before. Her daughter is taking part in an active shooter drill at school on Wednesday, a necessity that she described as a "terrifying reality". A sea of empty shoes also filled the grounds outside the Department of Health in 2016 to represent the millions of uninsured people who die each year from treatable conditions.

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The memorial, named "Monument For Our Kids", included a pair of shoes for each child killed by gun violence in the United States.

Inside the Capitol, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., paid tribute the children whose lives have been lost since the mass shooting.

The demonstration comes ahead of National Walkout Day on 14 March, where students will walk out of school for 17 minutes in honour of the 17 people who were killed at MS Douglas High School in Florida in February.

"There's nobody in those shoes, it's like the emptiness in our hearts from gun violence", said Mauser, 66, of Littleton, Colorado.

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