Wednesday marked the one-year anniversary of the shootings at Virginia Polytechnic Institute in Blacksburg, Va.

But the day marked countless other anniversaries as well, according to Andrew Goddard, whose son Colin was shot several times by Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho and survived.

Goddard addressed a crowd of hundreds on the steps of the Supreme Court, citing a statistic that more than 32 people are killed by guns every day in this country.

“Today is the one-week anniversary for the 32 Americans that were shot dead on April 9th, the one month-anniversary for the 32 that were shot dead on March 16th this year,” he said.

Goddard was part of a larger group consisting of members of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, the Million Mom March, Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and a group of several dozen students from Virginia Tech that gathered to protest the “easy access” that “people who are a danger to themselves and others” have to guns at unregulated shows. The groups believe that background checks should be required of all gun owners and “reasonable” limits on the quantity and type of guns an individual can purchase should be enforced by the federal government.

While this issue has been publicized recently by the Supreme Court’s impending decision on the District’s handgun ban and the shootings at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University, it stretches back nearly 30 years.

artina Leinz, president of the Virginia chapter of the Million Mom March, said that a high school classmate of hers in San Diego opened fire on a nearby elementary school, killing the school’s principal and a custodian in January of 1979.

“When that happened it was world news,” Leinz said amidst the crowd wearing black, purple and orange. “It was shocking to the world that a teenager would gun people down. It was shocking that a teenager could possess a weapon that could kill people that quickly, easily . Now here we are this many years later and we’re much worse off.”

Hannah Robinson, a junior at Virginia Tech, said that background checks are necessary and could have saved some of her classmates’ lives.

“We’re all just motivated to do something that we all see as common sense but maybe everyone else can’t,” she said. “We want to enact this legislation because it can stop gun violence.”

Jackson elicited the loudest cheers in affirmation when he spoke, referencing President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963 and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s in 1968 as decades-old reasons to restrict gun ownership.

“We mourned and we built monuments . 40 years later we are the most violent nation on earth,” Jackson said. “We can’t just mourn. We must fight back and resist.”

A lone dissenter, John Latham, stood near the crowds with a sign that read, “Self Defense is a Human Right.”

Latham, a member of the Virginia branch of the Tyranny Response Team, said that those advocating for more gun-related laws were really looking for an outright ban on personal gun ownership.

“How many laws is enough?” Latham asked. “These people always want more laws and we already have so many laws; when will we have enough?”

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