WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) — Following another round of deadly mass shootings, Democrats and advocates are demanding that Congress move forward with gun control legislation. But if they want to pass anything soon, they’ll have to find a way to get Republicans on board too.
On Thursday, lawmakers and advocates rallied to talk about next steps.
College student Jakoby Mitchell, a gun violence survivor, was among those who spoke at the event.
“This has to stop. We have to take action,” Mitchell said.
Congresswoman Lucy McBath says it’s crucial for lawmakers to keep pushing for reform. For her, the cause is personal because she lost her son in a shooting.
“It’s common sense solutions that save lives,” McBath said. “It’s background checks. It’s red flag laws. It’s banning assault weapons.”
Senator Raphael Warnock says he’s frustrated lawmakers haven’t done more.
“What trauma are we visiting upon our children when we tell them that the best we can to is to tell them how to hide?” Warnock said.
Congress did pass bipartisan gun safety measures last year, but now some Republicans are reluctant to go further.
Senator Shelley Moore Capito voted for last year’s package. However, now, she doesn’t think Congress should focus on more firearm regulations.
“The guns are being used by people who are not allowed to have guns and shouldn’t have them in the first place. And so we need to address that challenge, I think, before we move further,” Capito said.
Senator Josh Hawley thinks the real solution to preventing gun violence is increasing penalties for gun crimes.
“There is no substitute for getting tough on criminals and those who attempt to commit crimes and sending the message it’s not going to be tolerated,” Hawley said.
But Congressman Maxwell Frost says Democrats will keep fighting for gun reform.
“All communities are devastated by gun violence and I believe that it is a policy failure that we lose 100 lives a day,” Frost said.
“If we center the people rather than the politics, we have a chance of getting it done,” Warnock added.