Sonoma Plaza protesters express anger over US gun violence on day of nationwide protests
Dozens of anti-gun violence protesters gathered in Sonoma Plaza on Saturday in coordination with nationwide protests organized by March for Our Lives, the anti-gun violence movement founded by survivors of the 2018 shootings in Parkland, Florida.
Many in the crowd of about 100 held signs that highlighted the number of children and young adults who have died from gun violence in the United States in recent years.
“How much more?” read a sign.
Sophia Metzner, a local school social worker, said she came to fight against the normalization of gun violence that has become so common in the United States during her adult life. She said the issue is personal to her because her brother’s best friend was killed in a drive-by shooting in San Francisco.
“I feel like there’s an extreme desensitization in people seeing this over and over again,” Metzner said. “I never want to stop fighting for, and I’m so convinced guns should be banned anyway.”
Horns came every few minutes as drivers sought to show their support. However, some passers-by shouted profanity at the crowd.
“F—your lives,” came from the driver of a truck with young men inside. Another driver rolled down his window and yelled, “Only a good guy with a gun can save them, you idiot ———-!”
Sonoma resident Richard McDavid was on hand to advocate for the safety of school children following the shooting at a school in Uvalde, Texas that killed 19 children and two adults.
“I just think of the four children I have and when they were in school. I’m so glad I don’t have to personally deal with this issue,” McDavid said. “My greatest desire is to see a ban on assault weapons and to see the (National Rifle Association) lose its influence in Congress.”
The NRA, a national gun rights organization, has been called out by many protesters for its opposition to tougher gun control measures. Metzner went so far as to say she hoped the NRA would be “abolished.”
The crowd was older, but a few teenagers were there to advocate for tougher gun control measures.
“It’s hard to understand why we haven’t had a change,” said Sonoma Valley High School student Lily Gelb, 15. “I think the age of assault weapons needs to be raised to at least 21. And any legislation that’s actually aimed at regulating guns and restricting access to them and making sure that people who possessing them won’t pose a threat…would all be good steps.