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Gun violence survivors, including several from Highand Park, gather in DC Vibesbullet

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

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

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

Ellie Ander said she was still haunted by the sights and sounds of a gunman shooting from a rooftop in the 4th of July Parade in Highland Park.

Her husband and two children were a short walk from where seven were killed and dozens more injured.

“It’s heartbreaking. Every day [my children] leaving, I give them a really big hug like it’s the last day I can see them,” Ander said.

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

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

“As a doctor, I can tell you that there are no wounds inherent in the entry or exit of assault weapon bullets,” Lieberman said. ” Enough is enough. It’s time to demand action.

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

He is now heading to the US Senate, where some see an uphill battle for passage. Madeline Johnson is a survivor of the Oxford High School (Michigan) shooting.

“I now speak directly to the United States Senate: please, we implore 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 neither a Republican nor a Democrat. But this is something that we should all, as human beings, be able to agree on.”

Ander hopes anyone who opposes their efforts will listen, saying it’s not easy, but necessary.

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

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