WASHINGTON — Anti-violence groups, including several from Chicago, held a big rally in Washington D.C. Wednesday. They want Congress to pass gun control.
Overnight, buses departed the Rev. Michael Pfleger's St. Sabina Church on Chicago’s South Side for the 11 hour drive to DC. Pfleger’s parish, and several other groups joined the caravan for what they’re calling the "National Rally to End Gun Violence."
“His name is Jeremiah Sterling. He was murdered when he was 16. It’s important for me to be here today because Jeremiah doesn’t have a voice, I’m his voice,” mother LaWanda Sterling said.
This event coincided with a House hearing about assault-style weapons. The activists who gathered on the Capitol’s West Lawn want a ban on assault-style weapons.
“There have been 297 mass shootings in America since January 1,” Fr. Pflegar said.
Democrats are pushing several new gun control measures including a ban on high-capacity magazines, expanded background checks and a so-called “red flag” law to prevent prevent someone in crisis from getting a firearm.
“We’re not going away. We’re not going away until the job is done,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday.
There is concern among Republicans that “red flag” laws deny due process.
Any new gun legislation that the Democratic-controlled House passes would need to go through the Republican-controlled Senate where Leader Mitch McConnell has said he is waiting for President Donald Trump to say to what he will support.
Several times after mass shootings, the president has signaled he’s open to new gun control, only to later back down.
So on Wednesday, these anti-violence groups tried to pressure lawmakers to act. Before departing Chicago, Pfleger explained what he wants.
“More people are engaged that’s what I think. And if you look at poll numbers and all of that, more people want something done,” Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Chicago) said.
Earlier Wednesday in the same area, gun rights activists held a rally.