Rallies calling on U.S. Senate to pass gun safety legislation scheduled in 7 Florida cities this weekend

Activist group Moms Demand Action protest gun violence. Photo courtesy Moms Demand Action - FL Facebook page

Two weeks after shooters killed more than thirty Americans in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, advocates for gun safety laws will gather in seven Florida cities this weekend, calling for Congress to act when it reconvenes next month.

The “recess rallies” are being organized by the groups Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action, both funded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The groups are calling for the U.S. Senate to pass legislation requiring background checks on all gun sales and a strong “red flag” law to take guns away from people who are considered dangerous to themselves or others.

The Florida events are scheduled to take place in Miami, Pensacola, Orlando, Melbourne, Gainesville, Jacksonville and Fort Lauderdale over the weekend. You can find out specific times and places here.

The Fort Lauderdale rally takes place at 11 a.m. Saturday outside the War Memorial Auditorium. It will include Democratic U.S. Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Ted Deutch. State Rep. Cindy Polo and Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis are also scheduled to appear.

The Democratic-controlled U.S. House passed two bills expanding background checks in February. One would extend such checks to private firearm sales. The second gives the FBI more time to do background checks.

Following the recent mass shooting incidents , congressional Democrats and gun-control advocates have called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring the U.S. Senate back from its August recess to vote on the background check bills. He has refused to do so, though he has said that he will “consider” such legislation when Congress returns in September.

Legislation sponsored by Republican Lindsey Graham from South Carolina and Democrat Richard Blumenthal from Connecticut would create a federal grant program to encourage states to adopt “red flag” laws.

Florida and 16 other states have passed their own red flag laws. All of them were approved in the aftermath of the February 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

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