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Gun Control Rallies Held In NYC, Across U.S. As Pressure On Senate Majority Leader McConnell Ramps Up

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The fight for gun control grew louder Sunday across the country. Rallies demanding change were held in the wake of back-to-back mass shootings earlier this month.

Meanwhile, a push for a bi-partisan gun control bill appears to be moving forward.

Dozens gathered in Foley Square in lower Manhattan to pressure the Senate, specifically Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, to take action on tougher gun safety laws, CBS2's Hazel Sanchez reported.

"Mitch McConnell has had that bill on his desk since February, over 200 days," said Scott Pappalardo of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. "We need that bill to be put forward. It's a bi-partisan bill. It will pass the Senate. He just needs to put it up to vote."

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NYC gun control rally
Protesters take part in a gun control rally calling for federal background checks, on Aug. 18, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images)

Sunday's rally in the city was one of more than 100 across all 50 states, organized by gun control advocates like Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Every Town for Gun Safety.

Demonstrators are urging the Senate to return from summer recess to vote on gun safety legislation. It would require background checks on all gun sales and a strong red flag law, which allows the seizure of weapons from people who could be at risk to others or themselves.

"We have to act. We know what to do to make people safer," Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney said. "It's literally costing lives. Our young people are afraid to go to Walmarts now."

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Before leaving New Jersey for Washington, President Donald Trump assured Congress is addressing the issue.

"They have bipartisan committees working on background checks and various other things and we'll see. I don't want people to forget that this is a mental health problem. I don't want them to forget that because it is," Trump said, adding, "It's the people that pull the trigger. It's not the gun that pulls the trigger. So we have a very, big mental health problem. And Congress is working on various things and I'll be looking at it."

Republican McConnell has asked committee chairmen to review possible gun bills for consideration when lawmakers return in September. People rallying in New York on Sunday said a vote can't come soon enough.

"We are hoping it's a turning point and people will see the desperate need for gun sense in this country," said Bonnie Benowitz of Grandmoms for Gun Safety.

Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee will be returning early to consider other gun violence legislation. The House already approved legislation for stricter background checks for gun purchases.

CBS2 reached out to Sen. McConnell, but did not immediately hear back.

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