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Hundreds hold vigil for mass shooting victims outside NRA headquarters

Chuck Schumer & Peter King on gun legislation

Several gun control groups organized a vigil to honor the victims of two back-to-back mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. The "Vigil for Remembrance and Change" was held outside of the NRA headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia, making a powerful statement in the wake of tragedy, the Associated Press reports.

Gun control groups including March for Our Lives and Brady Against Gun Violence organized the vigil, which hundreds of people attended. 

The mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, left at least 31 people dead and renewed the nationwide debate on gun legislation. The names of the victims were read – including victims killed in Chicago and 13 black transgender women slain this year. Moments of silence were also held, according to the AP. 

Mass Shootings
People gather at a vigil for recent victims of gun violence outside the National Rifle Association's headquarters building, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, in Fairfax, Va. Patrick Semansky / AP

IGun control groups are planning more vigils. The March for Our Lives chapter in Cary, North Carolina, is planning a vigil at Pleasant Grove Church on Saturday, according to a Facebook event. The March for Our Lives chapter in Fort Thomas, Kentucky, is planning a vigil Tuesday outside Senator Mitch McConnelll's office in Louisville.

Mass Shootings
Moms Demand Action were among the gun control activist groups present at the vigil outside the NRA headquarters on Monday. Patrick Semansky / AP

As of August 5, which was the 217th day of the year, there have been 255 mass shootings in the U.S., according to data from the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive (GVA), which tracks every mass shooting in the country. The group defines a mass shooting as any incident in which at least four people are shot, excluding the shooter.

President Trump called for "bipartisan solutions" after the weekend's two high-profile mass shootings. Although the president didn't specifically call for new restrictions on guns, he did reiterate his support for "red flag" laws to keep guns out of the hands of people who appear to pose an imminent threat. 

After Mr. Trump's call to address the root causes mass shootings, the NRA said it has held a long-standing position "that those who have been adjudicated as danger to themselves or others should not have access to firearms and should be admitted for treatment."  

However, a focus on mental illness downplays the ease with which Americans can get firearms, experts said. In the wake of these tragedies, mental health experts repeated what they have said after previous mass shootings: Most people with mental illness are not violent, they are far more likely to be victims of violent crime than perpetrators, and access to firearms is a big part of the problem.

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