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NATIONAL MALL, (WUSA) - Thousands marched in Washington for gun control Saturday, in the first major demonstration since the Sandy Hook shootings.

The demonstrators marched from the Capitol to the Washington Monument calling on Congress to ban assault-style rifles, high capacity magazines, and demanding tighter background checks.

"We have to start somewhere. I can't say much more, but we have to start somewhere," Newtown resident Katie Kent said as she held back tears.

"I have to do something. I have to write our congressmen, we can't just sit back. We have to do something."

Adrienne Leff came to march because her step-brother, Jason Emma, was shot in his car in a random robbery on Capitol Hill and died Christmas Eve.

"People have to stand up to what they believe. I just had a baby two months ago and it kills me that I brought him into a world that's so violent," Leff said.

Adding, "it was a horrible thing that happened. Senseless acts of violence happen every day."

D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton gave a passionate speech at the end of the march.

"We are all culpable if we do nothing."

Education Secretary Arne Duncan says it's not about taking away second amendment rights but about gun safety and saving lives.

"This is about gun safety, fewer dead Americans, fewer living in fear."

Newtown is known for the horrific tragedy but residents say they can also be known for being the strongest voice for change.

"I want my town to bounce back and be known for what we did about it," 13-year-old Sophie Ackert said.

Gun sales have seen an increase since the Sandy Hook shootings and there were a few counter protestors at the rally.

The event started with two D.C. residents who took to Facebook after the Sandy Hook massacre. In just a few short weeks thousands responded and committed to the rally.

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