Marin moms demand action, prepare for marches against gun violence

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to take part in "March for our Lives" events Saturday, demanding gun reform to make students safer at school. 

The main event is in Washington, D.C. but almost 1,000 events are listed in local communities across the country. 

In Marin County Friday evening, a dozen women gathered to make protest signs to carry in the San Francisco march. 

"I'm very excited, and so is my college-age daughter, who will be marching in Los Angeles," said host Fearn de Vicq. "It seems the students have really started something, really captured people's imaginations." 

Student leaders from Parkland, Florida will lead the main march in Washington. 
They have been unrelenting since last month's massacre, calling for gun safety reforms. 

"As long as we have a unified front and come together and remain strong as Americans we can work to solve this problem and hold our politicians accountable," said MSD High School student David Hogg on Friday."

As they made signs inspired by the students' own words, the Marin women expressed optimism. 
"The Stoneman Douglas students have really got me revved up," said Tracy Haughton of Mill Valley. “I feel more hopeful and more energized, because of what they have started." 

The students have shifted the gun debate into stark, personal terms and they warn politicians not to ignore the groundswell of opinion. 

"Those students are never going to forget what they went through," said de Vicq. "Much more than those of us who were not there, they will never forget this." 

Gun reform groups such as Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense are growing; the national organization is now at 4.5 million members, up a half-million from a month ago. 

"It says to me that people want to make a change," said Marin chapter leader Helen Rosen. 
Marin's chapter has held three organizational meetings in March. 

"Fifty to eighty people show up every time we put on one of these events. Just in small Marin county, we're seeing a huge outpouring of support," said Rosen.

The national organization was founded by an Indiana mother of five, who was motivated by the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. 

It bills itself as non-partisan and pro-second amendment, but favors more stringent background checks and a ban on assault-style weapons.

"Let's listen to the kids, let's follow their lead, and they're right, we should be protecting them and not guns," said Haughton, a mother of three. 

Added Beth Forsman, of Corte Madera, who has three daughters: "Where we failed, these kids will succeed, and if we can be the wind beneath their wings, I'm privileged to do that."

Forsman's sign read: Arms Are For Hugging. 

Saturday's San Francisco rally begins at 1pm at Civic Center Plaza, with a march to the Embarcadero at around 2:30.

Oakland's event begins at City Hall at 10 am, so participants can link with San Francisco activities afterward.