DC families of gun violence victims push for national legislation

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WASHINGTON, DC - D.C. residents who’ve lost family members to gun violence gathered at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library to take part in a roundtable discussion calling on Congress to pass gun control legislation.

"I’m a voice for all the mothers who are not strong enough to speak. Who don’t have the courage to speak,” said Cynthia Dawkins, whose son Timothy, was killed in Southeast DC by a stray bullet in 2013.

The roundtable was hosted by D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes-Norton and was part of nation-wide day of events hosted by other House Democrats. It follows their 26-hour sit-in on the House floor last week.

"We’re going to keep raising consciousness on this matter until we get something done and we think we can,” said Rep. Holmes-Norton.

Those in attendance said that national legislation is needed as gun control laws passed in one jurisdiction can be undermined by another.

"To put it simply, Virginia has much looser gun laws than the District, and much of the country quite frankly. And is the source of the majority of the guns that are purchased and are very quickly, get into the wrong hands and are used in crime,” said D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier.

Dawkins, and others at the roundtable, pushed for universal background checks and the “no fly, no buy” legislation that would prevent people on the terrorism watch list from purchasing firearms.