A gun control group formed in the wake of last month's massacre at a Connecticut elementary school marched across the Brooklyn Bridge to City Hall Monday to call on Congress to follow New York State's lead and enact stricter limits on weapons and ammunition purchases.
A cabbie drove by beeping his car's horn and flashing a peace sign as some 400 marchers from the city's five boroughs and several other states, including Michigan, Minnesota and Florida, crossed the bridge.
Valerie Wright, of Manhattan, said she would have felt "negligent" if she didn't attend.
"Even though we just passed legislation here, it's more far-reaching than just our state," she said.
Wright said it was important to be counted in the call for similar laws nationwide. "Sometimes, showing up is the best thing you can do," she said.
Jennifer Edwards, of Ann Arbor, Mich., said she was not against guns, but wants a nationwide ban on military-style guns.
"If the man at Sandy Hook had a regular gun instead of an assault weapon, half of those children would be alive," she said of the Newtown, Conn., tragedy. "You can never stop people from doing crazy things, but if you can minimize it, if you can save one life, isn't it worth it?"
One Million Moms for Gun Control wants Congress to pass President Barack Obama's sweeping gun control proposals. Those include a ban on assault weapons and large magazines and closing loopholes that allow some gun sales without background checks. The group also is pushing for boundaries on how much ammunition can be purchased and limits on the scope of concealed weapons laws.
Last week, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed the nation's toughest assault weapon and magazine restrictions.
Many in the crowd said they were galvanized by Newtown. Rachael Dubin, of Brooklyn, said she had never been involved in previous efforts to enact stricter gun laws, but the shootings were too close to home for the mother of a 2-year-old and a 5-year-old.
"It's the 5-year-old that really made what happened in Newtown so jarring," she said. "I think there absolutely needs to be national legislation, and I hope it's tougher than what was done in New York state." The newcomers to the cause were joined by those who have been calling for stricter gun laws for years.
Jackie Rowe-Adams, founder of Harlem Mothers SAVE (Stop Another Violent End), has buried two children because of gun violence.
"We can't bring our kids back, but we can certainly continue to do prevention, to do education and to do what we can to end the violence," she boomed at the rally.