El Paso, Dayton shootings prompt protest outside White House

Groups condemn Trump's remarks on immigrants, lack of action on gun legislation in Senate

National civil rights and gun violence prevention groups rally in Lafayette Square across from the White House on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Protesters chanted “white supremacy has got to go” and “immigrants are welcome here” across from the White House on Tuesday at a rally sparked by mass shootings over the weekend that killed 31 people and injured many more.

Organized by a coalition of civil rights and gun reform groups, the rally demanded that President Donald Trump stop denigrating immigrants and that the Senate pass gun control legislation, including a bill that passed the House months ago requiring a background check for every gun sale.

“It’s not Congress, it’s Mitch McConnell in the Senate, representing the special interests of the NRA” that is responsible for inaction on gun control, said Kris Brown, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

Other groups involved in the Lafayette Square protest included Voto Latino, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

The debate about stricter gun laws was yet again thrust into the forefront of the national conversation after mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, in which nine people were killed, and in El Paso, Texas. The gunman in the El Paso, where 22 were killed, allegedly sought to kill members of the Latino community, according to The New York Times.

Protesters seeking action on gun control also gathered outside of McConnell’s Louisville, Kentucky, home Monday night where they made loud noises using cowbells and pans. Also on Monday, Rep. Jennifer Wexton appeared at a vigil outside of the Fairfax, Virginia, headquarters of the National Rifle Association to honor the victims of gun violence.  The first-year Democrat represents Virginia’s 10th District, which does not include the NRA. 

On Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Sen. Rob Portman said he was wants to work on “red flag” grants to keep guns from those afflicted with mental health challenges. The Ohio Republican, who presided at a “pro forma” Senate session where no work was conducted, said he would be open to considering a bipartisan background check bill that he previously voted against. 

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