Hundreds of gun control activists gathered Monday evening in front of the National Rifle Association’s headquarters in Virginia to honor the victims from this weekend’s mass shootings and to call for action against gun violence.
The vigil and protest in Fairfax was organized by youth movement March for Our Lives in partnership with the Human Rights Campaign and the Brady Campaign. Attendees honored victims in three cities that experienced extreme gun violence over the weekend: El Paso, Texas; Dayton, Ohio; and Chicago.
A gunman opened fire Saturday on back-to-school shoppers at a Walmart in El Paso, killing at least 22 and injuring dozens more with a semiautomatic rifle. The suspect, who law enforcement believe wrote a white supremacist manifesto, is in custody.
Hours later, another gunman opened fire on a popular downtown district in Dayton, killing at least nine people and injuring dozens with a rifle and high-capacity magazines. Police killed the shooter within 24 seconds of the start of the attack. Law enforcement is still investigating his motive.
Chicago experienced a slew of shootings over the weekend that ended with seven dead and 46 wounded. A single shooting at a block party in the Lawndale neighborhood killed one person and injured seven. Another shooting at a playground in the Douglas Park neighborhood injured seven people, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.) said at the vigil outside the NRA headquarters that people must honor shooting victims “through action.”
“We have a real opportunity to do that here in Virginia, and we have real opportunities to do that nationally, and we cannot give up,” she said. “We cannot get exhausted by this. We cannot be beaten down by this, because we are stronger than the gun lobby, and we will prevail.”
In addition to chants of “Enough is enough,” event leaders also read aloud the names of the weekend’s gun violence victims, as well as the names of the 13 black transgender women who have been killed so far this year.
Democrats have called on Senate Republicans to come back from their recess so they can vote on a House-passed bill on universal gun background checks that has widespread bipartisan support. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has continued to refuse to bring the bill to the Senate floor for a vote.