In the wake of three high-profile mass shootings, a small but passionate crowd gathered at the corners of El Camino Real and Castro Street on Monday to rally against the country's gun violence epidemic.
The protest, organized by the social advocacy group Together We Will Palo Alto/Mountain View, drew roughly 20 people, who held signs reading "Remember Sandy Hook," "Enough is Enough," "Mitch McConnell: Kids not guns" and "You ask why I march? How can I not?"
Many passing drivers honked their horns in support. The Voice identified at least one person who attended to oppose the event.
The Raging Grannies performed at the rally, singing original lyrics such as "It's time to tell the NRA" and "Walmart: Stop selling guns" set to traditional American tunes such as "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and "God Bless America."
"It is patriotic to want sensible gun law reform," said Ruth Robertson, singer for the Raging Grannies.
Zach Darrah, 27-year-old resident and alumnus of Mountain View High School, said he protested alone at the same corner following the shooting in Dayton, Ohio. A few weeks later, he contacted Together We Will to organize and drive support for Monday's rally.
Darrah listed requiring universal background checks and closing gun show loopholes as immediate solutions to gun violence. He also pressed the need for Democrats to take control of the Senate and White House in the next election in order for gun control legislation to have a chance of success.
"It's unacceptable that we're okay as a nation with thousands of Americans dying every year," Darrah said. "The time has passed for inaction. The time has passed for thoughts and prayers. We need substantial bills passed."
Organizer Christine Welter decried the widespread access to assault weapons and rising waves of hate speech, a motivating factor in the El Paso, Texas, shooting that left 20 dead and dozens injured.
Despite enjoying hunting as a pastime, Welter, who grew up in Germany but has lived in the United States for 30 years, said she would take a more "radical" approach and supports the repeal of the Second Amendment.
"What's going on here, I think, is just unbelievable," Welter said. "It's the only place in the world where anyone can just go out with an assault weapon and shoot."
Welter said that the mass shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival felt personal because a co-worker of hers knew one of the victims.
Billie Norman, who attended the rally dressed as the Statue of Liberty, expressed similar thoughts.
"I'm from Ohio and I know the family of someone who died in Dayton," Norman said. "For me it hits too close to home. It's real. I'm just tired."