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Manhattan protesters demand Senate end its summer recess to vote on gun control bills

2019-08-18

Sign-waving protesters at a rally for gun safety at Foley Square on Sunday. (Theodore Parisienne/for New York Daily News)

More than 100 protesters flooded Foley Square in lower Manhattan Sunday afternoon to call on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to call the Senate out of recess to vote on a pair of gun control bills.

The “Recess Rally," one of more than 100 organized across the country over the weekend by the anti-gun group Everytown for Gun Safety, came two weeks after a pair of mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio left more than 30 people dead.

“If today is a typical day in America, more than 100 people will die at the barrel of a gun” Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) told the rally, referring to the roughly 36,000 Americans killed by guns each year, including suicides.

Protesters at a rally for gun control laws at Foley Square in Manhattan on Sunday.
Protesters at a rally for gun control laws at Foley Square in Manhattan on Sunday. (Theodore Parisienne/for New York Daily News)

“If they won’t act, then we need to take democracy in our hands and vote Mitch McConnell out of office,” Maloney said.

Protesters echoed Maloney’s sentiment, regularly breaking out into chants of “Vote Them Out!” during the rally.

Maloney and other organizers want the Senate to pass two bills.

One would require more stringent background checks for gun buyers, and the other would establish a “Red Flag” law that would allow state courts to temporarily confiscate firearms from those who have a high risk of doing harm to themselves or others.

The Senate in 2013 voted down legislation requiring background checks for all gun buyers, months after 26 people — including 20 children — were murdered in a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

McConnell has said he will discuss gun control measures when the Senate reconvenes on Sept. 9. He has shown no willingness to bring the Senate out of its summer recess for an emergency session to vote on the bills.

If the bills pass the Senate, they will have to be signed by President Trump, who has shown little interest in gun control measures.

“It’s not the gun that pulls the trigger, it’s the person holding the gun” Trump said at a rally in New Hampshire Friday, adding that the nation’s gun violence crisis is the product of cities and states closing mental institutions for “budgetary reasons.”

“We will be taking mentally deranged people off the streets so we won’t have to worry so much about them,” the president told his supporters.