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Highland Park parade shooting survivors pushing for assault weapons ban in D.C. Monday

Highland Park parade shooting survivors push for assault weapons ban
Highland Park parade shooting survivors push for assault weapons ban 02:43

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Five months after the Highland Park parade shooting, there is an urgent plea on Capitol Hill from survivors and physicians from across the country. They are converging in Washington, D.C. once again to push the U.S. Senate to pass a ban on assault weapons before the end of the year. 

Leaders from the organization March Fourth say they absolutely will not stop fighting but they will be back to square one if the Senate doesn't pass this bill to ban assault weapons. So with Congress in a lame duck session, they are traveling to D.C. Monday for closed-door meetings with more than 30 senators on Wednesday, pleading with them to not wait to pass this bill for the sake of children.

"The public needs to know that the Senate can do something about mass shootings. And they can do it this month," said Kitty Brandtner, founder of March Fourth.

In the five months since the Highland Park parade shooting, the message from leaders of March Fourth, has only grown louder, clearer and now, more urgent.

"The Senate has within this term to pass that bill," Brandtner said. "They have by the end of December to pass that bill or everything starts over. All of our work disintegrates, and we start over next year."

The organization, formed in the wake of the parade massacre, has made several trips to D.C. The first came just days after the shooting and helped lead to the House passing a ban on assault weapons in late July. 

This trip will be led by 60 physicians from 25 states, including Dr. Emily Lieberman, who is a pediatrician, mother and Highland Park shooting survivor.

"The number one cause of death of children in our country right now is gun violence," said Lieberman. 

She and others believe the easiest way to bring that number down is to ban assault-style weapons.

"We have the medical evidence that this ban will save lives, and physicians are coming to D.C. to make this issue no longer political but a public health matter," she said. 

This final end-of-the-year push will be made in D.C., while at home Lieberman says her community of Highland Park is still very much grieving what happened five months ago.

"We were physically unharmed, but we are emotionally changed forever," she said. "This holiday season, the greatest gift I can give to others is to prevent other communities from experiencing what my community experienced on July 4."

Leaders were not able to give the names of the senators they're meeting with Wednesday but say they are from both sides of the aisle. 

CBS 2 reached out to Sens. Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin and did not hear back. 

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