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Thousands March to the Capitol in Support of March for Our Lives

SACRAMENTO -- Thousands took to the streets of downtown Sacramento to demand sensible gun control.

Saturday's protests were part of the "March for Our Lives" protests taking place in cities across the U.S.

The crowds were as big as the Women's March in January.

While the primary focus was asking for gun restrictions, there were also many nods to Stephon Clark -- the unarmed man killed by Sacramento police on Sunday.

"I completely understand having guns for home defense, but you don't need automatic weapons for home defense," said 13-year-old Sutter Middle School student Helen Schwartz.

Schwartz is one of thousands who came to march from Crocker Park to the Capitol.

She says recent school shootings have completely changed the atmosphere on campus.

"My school has started closing the gates earlier in the morning, and now there's only one small entrance to the school and it makes it feel more like a prison and less like a school."

Schwartz believes the only solution is to change the country's gun laws --  an opinion echoed by thousands in Sacramento and millions across the country.

"I hope it makes a change, you know what I've got the credentials. I'm a hunter. I was in Vietnam, I know what guns do, and there's no place for them in the schools."

Pam Flohr marched with a sign telling the story about her niece's best friend Nicole Kimura who was killed in the Las Vegas mass shooting in October 2017.

"They were having a drink, and having fun and laughing, and three minutes later, Nicole was dead,"  Flohr said.

With so many people participating, Flohr believed Washington would get Saturday's message loud and clear.

"If they don't, they'll be sorry," Flohr said.

After the march, several politicians and students made speeches on the west steps of the Capitol.