The gun control protests on Saturday were huge. But just exactly how many people were at March for Our Lives is up for debate. The organizers estimated in advance that 500,000 would head to Washington, D.C., on Saturday. In the end, the number was potentially much higher. And even using numbers on the conservative end, the youth protest was the biggest seen since the Vietnam War era, more than 40 years ago.
The march organizers claimed 800,000 people were on the street in D.C. on Saturday. That would eclipse the number of people in the Capitol for the Women's March. Crowd size experts claimed 440,000 protestors were in attendance for the protest the day after Trump's inauguration.
There is, however, the possibility that fewer protestors turned out in D.C. According to CBS News, Digital Design & Imaging Service, the same organization that said 440,000 were at the Women's March, said that only 202,796 people were at the March for Our Lives, noting there was a 15 percent margin of error; however, there was no immediate explanation for the disparity. The Virginia-based firm uses aerial photos to count people at public protests, and has done so for many protests organized in the Washington, D.C. area.
Another way to measure attendance in the past has been Metro rides in the D.C. area. On Saturday, Metro officials announced 558,735 rides. For the Women's March, Metro reported that there were 1,001,613 rides. That has only been topped by Barack Obama's first inauguration in 2009.
Regardless, the March for Our Lives broke records. In addition to the marchers in Washington, protestors turned out at more than 800 events nationwide. Counting the sibling marches — there's no official number yet — it's easy to see that this protest broke records from the past.
The big Vietnam War demonstration in D.C. in 1969 is thought to have brought between 500,000 and 600,000 to the Capitol. March for Our Lives eclipses that, especially when counting the solidarity marches in other cities.
New York City's march saw 175,000 demonstrators turn out, while about 30,000 people marched in both Atlanta and Pittsburgh. Houston and Parkland, Florida, each had about 15,000 show up, ABC News reported.
Another way to measure the impact of the day is to look at the social media impact. There were hundreds of thousands watching a live feed on Periscope throughout the protest. Thousands of tweets and Facebook posts from across the country were also shared thousands and thousands of times.
From here, the organizers goal will be to move onto their next action, Vote for Our Lives. The Never Again MSD organizers focused on voting when they addressed the crowd, and "Vote them out!" rang through the crowd throughout the entire event.
Cameron Kasky noted that "the people demand" gun control laws like universal background checks and an assault weapons ban. "Stand for us or beware — the voters are coming," Kasky warned politicians. "The march is not the climax — it is the beginning."
He was followed by Delaney Tarr who promised, "We will vote." She said that this generation is "here for real change." She added, "When they give us that inch, that bump stock ban, we will take a mile."
Critics have suggested that the March for Our Lives will have difficulty becoming a movement rather than just a one-off event. But the organizers made it clear in advance and at the march that voting is the ultimate goal. If another 800,000 young people voted in the midterms, the impact could be huge. And getting a clear count at the polling booth will ultimately be easier to measure.