Several hundred people, including a chart-topping music group, gathered at the Decatur Square on Saturday afternoon to demand the federal government pass laws they believe will slow gun violence in America.
“Enough,” the crowd chanted in a call-and-response to rally organizers before introducing the Indigo Girls, who performed “Let It Be Me,” prompting many who stood in the shade to move closer to the stage.
“Shine my life like a light,” the group sang, then adding the word “Mitch,” an apparent reference to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to the delight of the crowd.
McConnell has opposed some legislation supported by the audience, such as universal background checks.
Solutions to gun violence has been a major part of national conversation in recent weeks after two mass killings in Ohio and Texas. McConnell said after the shootings he’s open to potential legislation that includes background checks.
The rally was organized by Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, which are hosting events in several dozens cities nationwide this weekend to push congressional action during its summer recess.
In addition to universal background checks, the Decatur attendees want “red flag” laws that would allow people to alert authorities if someone is concerned a loved one may harm themselves or someone else and more discussion about hate speech. President Donald Trump has said he support “red flag” laws, but has focused on mental health issues.
“We aren’t asking you for much. We’re asking you to save our lives,” said one of the speakers, Rylee Holland, 18, a Georgia Tech student who is an outreach leader for Students Demand Action.
Another speaker, Jeff Binkley of Dunwoody, said enacting changes should not be a partisan issue. Binkley and his wife, Margaret, started a foundation to promote “positive social change.” Their after his 21-year-old daughter, Maura, was one of six women shot outside a Florida yoga studio last year by a gunman police said hated women. Maura died from the shooting.
“This should not be cast as a matter of left or right, blue or red. It is rather one of red, white and blue,” he said.