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“It’s enraging, but also unifies us’: Survivors of gun violence, including several from Highand Park, rally in D.C.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Hundreds of survivors of gun violence, including families from Highland Park, are in Washington D.C., demanding a ban on assault weapons.

CBS 2’s Steven Graves spoke to a mother who went to D.C. for the first time and she called the rally powerful.

It was gathering never seen before: They are survivors of twelve different mass shootings, speaking directly to lawmakers.

Ellie Ander said she is still haunted by the sights and sounds of a shooter firing from a rooftop into the Highland Park Fourth of July Parade.

Her husband and two kids were feet from where seven were killed and dozens more injured.

“It’s heartbreaking. Everyday [my children] leave, I give them a really big hug as if it’s the last day I might see them,” Ander said.

She spoke to CBS 2 from a quiet space in D.C., minutes before speaking near Capitol Hill, joining hundreds urging lawmakers to pass a federal assault weapons ban.

This time, with survivors of more than a dozen mass shootings across the country. One was Doctor Emily Lieberman, a pediatrician from Highland Park, also at the parade shooting.

“As a doctor, I can tell you, there are not clean entry or exit wounds from assault weapons bullets,” Lieberman said. “Enough is enough. It’s time to demand action.”

The non-partisan group called March Fourth put on the rally. It was formed shortly after the Highland Park shooting. A group protest took place soon after its formation happened, before the House passed a bill banning assault weapons.

It now heads to the U.S. Senate, where some see an uphill battle for passage. Madeline Johnson is a survivor of the Oxford High School (Michigan) shooting.

“I’m now speaking directly to the U.S. Senate: Please, we are begging you, put our lives first,” Johnson said.

Angel Garza, father of 10-year old Amerie Jo Garza, killed at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

“I’m not a Republican or a Democrat. But this is something we should all as fellow humans be able to agree on.”  

Ander hopes anyone against their effort will listen, saying doing this is not easy, but necessary.

“It’s enraging, but also unifies us in this one common, very simple purpose.”

Source: CBS Chicago

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