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'Kids are being massacred': Grieving families of U.S. shooting victims demand assault weapons ban

“Kids are being massacred in their schools, literally … their heads are being decapitated because of the power of an assault bullet, (which) is unlike anything, no other weapon,” gun violence prevention activist Samuel Schwartz told CTV News on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

“It’s gotten to the point now where it’s infringing on our right to live,” he told CTV News.

Schwartz, 19, is the organizer of a sit-in on Senate’s doorstep that began earlier this week, with plans to stay until June 12 or longer.

The protest comprises survivors of gun violence and grieving families of shooting victims from across the U.S., who are demanding change in the country where the leading cause of death for children and young adults is guns.

“None of us are safe, wherever we go, I don’t understand how more people aren’t joining this fight before it touches their lives,” says Kim Rubio, whose 10-year-old daughter Lexi was gunned down in Uvalde, Texas a year ago.

Their demand is for Congress to hold a federal vote to ban assault-style weapons, the kind used in mass shootings at schools in Uvalde, Sandy Hook, and Parkland, Fla.

U.S. President Joe Biden signed into law the first gun control bill in 30 years last June. And after mass shootings such as the ones in Uvalde and Buffalo, the president called on Congress to once again ban assault weapons with high capacity magazines - an earlier federal ban had lapsed in 2004. But Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has not brought legislation to the floor because he can’t get the votes for a ban to pass.

The survivors want a vote anyway, to know who is for and who opposes a ban on this weapon of war.


Schwartz, 19, has been lobbying for change since his cousin Alex was murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. five years ago.

“I had a conversation with someone and they said that they look for an exit sign whenever they go into a new place which is just heartbreaking, because that's not the country that I want to live in,” said Schwartz, of Ban Assault Weapons NOW, who has since moved from Florida to Boston where gun laws are tougher.

While some sympathetic lawmakers stopped at the sit-in, signing their petition and even showing support on social media, it’s a tough sell politically in a divided government.

"They deserve for their own safety to have a vote in Congress. Frankly, we look at our friends to the north, as you know, leading by example on how you protect your own people from gun violence,” said Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell, of California.

Watch the full report from CTV News’ Washington Bureau Chief Joy Malbon by clicking on the video at the top of this article. Top Stories

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