'I want our lawmakers to act now': Hundreds march at Arizona capitol calling for gun control

A resounding call for gun reform was heard across the nation on June 11 as thousands rallied from the National Mall in Washington DC to Phoenix, pushing for stricter gun laws in the wake of recent deadly mass shootings.

In Arizona, hundreds of people, including educators, students and those who have been victims of gun violence, gathered at the state capitol in downtown Phoenix.  Many of the organizers are young people but old enough to remember the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting four years ago.

Once again, they call on lawmakers for gun reform.

Before hundreds marched at the state capitol, speakers made their frustrations known about ongoing gun violence in America.

"As a mom and as an educator, I want our lawmakers to act now," said Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction, Kathy Hoffman.

The rally went on peacefully despite a group of civilians who arrived armed with rifles.

The town of Uvalde is still recovering from last month's massacre where 19 children and two teachers were killed in a school shooting. One of the victims, 10-year-old Maite Rodriguez was reportedly unrecognizable after the shooting, and only her green Converse with a hand-drawn heart were left as clear evidence to help identify her.

"I could identify my kids in almost any circumstances but to know I wouldn't be able to identify them in that circumstance and that was the only thing that was left of her?" said Chandler resident, Sam Crowl.

She came to the rally wearing her Converse in Maite's honor.

A drive-by shooting left Democratic state representative Jennifer Longdon paralyzed. Now, she's an advocate for victims and continues to introduce gun control legislation.

"I'm Jennifer Longdon. 18 years ago, I was nearly killed by random gun violence," she remarked.

Explaining her stances on gun control, she says, "One of them is so simple as a violence screening before you purchase a firearm. That's what a universal background check is, do you have a violent history? safe storage measures education around safe storage."

Longdon says changes are happening, but not fast enough. She has hope watching young organizers lead the march at the capitol, she says.

"I couldn't be more proud of these young people if I had given birth to every one of them," Longdon said.

As for the group of armed civilians, they walked around the rally, speaking in opposition, but organizers reminded everyone not to engage.