'March for Our Guns' counter-protest held nearby March for Our Lives rally in DC
WASHINGTON - Nearby the March for Our Lives rally in the nation's capital on Saturday will be a counter-protest.
Event organizers are calling it the "March for Our Guns." About 1,000 people were expected to meet at the Trump International Hotel in downtown D.C. Saturday morning for a rally that will feature a keynote speaker, National Rifle Association spokesperson Dana Loesch. Afterwards, participants will march to the White House.
The hotel is along Pennsylvania Avenue - exactly where March for Our Lives event will take place.
Organizers of the pro-Second Amendment rally said they have no intention of clashing with marchers and this will be a peaceful demonstration. They said they will not have firearms with them during the rally.
FOX 5 spoke with Christopher Russell, who plans on attending, on what they are advocating for.
"We need to move forward with national reciprocity for conceal carry," explained Russell. "And we absolutely have to end gun-free zones. The reality is having a law-abiding citizen with a firearm who wants to carry a firearm and is trained to do so is the only way you are going to stop a bad guy with a gun."
John Lott, president of the Crime Prevention Research Center, has spent 20 years researching this issue.
"I am very frustrated by this whole debate right now," Lott said. "We keep on having solutions being put forward that wouldn't have stopped the attacks in Florida and wouldn't have stopped other attacks. The one common issue that we see in all of these shootings is that they all occurred in gun-free zones. Criminals aren't stupid. They know that will maximize the body count."
Lott also advocates for allowing schools to arm themselves because armed officers become targets of the shooter. When analyzing the data, he also said banning assault weapons is not the answer.
"We tried assault weapons bans for 10 years," he explained. "There was really no change. A lot of academics have looked at this and they just haven't found any benefits."
Nicole Goeser has been directly affected by gun violence and said her firsthand experience proves why guns are needed. Her husband was shot and killed in a gun-free restaurant.
"I had to leave my permitted handgun that I normally carry for self-defense locked in my vehicle that night," explained Goeser. "My stalker did not obey the law, brought a gun into a gun-free zone illegally and shot my husband six times in front of me and everyone."
Since the tragedy that upended her life, she has written a book advocating for Second Amendment rights and an end to gun-free zones.
"I don't think anyone should feel ashamed for wanting to stand up for their Second Amendment rights," she said. "I don't think anyone should feel ashamed for wanting to protect themselves and their families."
This same sentiment is being echoed by students as well. Kyle Kashuv, a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student tweeted, "How about we make a March for our Rights? We'll make it right next door to the other one."
FOX 5 spoke to Kashuv as he traveled the country speaking about legislation to keep students safe as an alternative to gun control legislation.