Outside the chambers, on the National Mall that stretches from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial, gun control advocates prayed among 3,300 grave markers that they said represent the number of people who have died as a result of gun violence since the school shooting in Newtown, Conn. The religious leaders on the Mall, including several from Newtown, said that work should have started long ago.
“It doesn’t have to be this way,” said Jim Wallis of the Washington-based Christian activist group Sojourners, a co-sponsor of the vigil with PICO National Network, a faith-based grassroots organization. “The nation is so far ahead of where the political leaders are” on gun control, he said.
Matt Crebbin, senior pastor at Newtown Congregational Church, compared strident gun-lobby resistance to any fresh gun legislation to the biblical worship of idols.
“We don’t have a Second Amendment issue, we have a Second Commandment crisis,” said Mr. Crebbin, who led the small town’s interfaith service attended by Mr. Obama two days after the Sandy Hook school shootings.