WASHINGTON DC (WLS) -- Families impacted by gun violence, including survivors of the Highland Park parade shooting, met with legislators in Washington D.C. Tuesday to push for stronger federal gun laws, including a federal assault weapons ban.
Their eyes were still damp with tears when survivors of the country's most recent mass shootings, Highland Park and Uvalde, emerged from the first of a marathon of meetings on Capitol Hill.
"There was a family next to us, the parents were both shot and killed," said Natalie Lorentz, Highland Park survivor. "Just being able to be out in the world and feel safe, to have that ripped away and to know that at any moment that could and will happen again."
Their first stop was to the office of Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy, an emphatic advocate for gun control.
"We shared our stories, but also said that we don't have time to wait," Lorentz said. "There needs to be change now."
"I would like to see this be the one issue that transcends political divisiveness," said another Highland Park survivor, who asked not to be identified.
Senator Murphy tried. He co-sponsored the first significant piece of gun legislation to pass through Congress in 30 years. Before that Congress hadn't passed significant bipartisan gun legislation, one that included a federal assault weapons ban, since 1994.
"This is about more than someone's right to fire an AR-15," said U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois). "This is about our children's right to live."
When asked if she thought Congress could pass an assault weapons ban, she replied, "I'm going to keep showing up every day until we do."
But that was before Highland Park. With each passing week, stories like Lorentz's become a more common.
"This is an epidemic, something we have to deal with, certainly, to get an assault weapons ban," said U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL 9).
Many consider that impossible, Schakowsky does not.
"No, it's not impossible. The timing may be difficult right now, but it is absolutely possible," she said.
With three recent mass shootings now top of mind, the expanding coalition of survivors is determined to make personal pleas for stricter federal gun laws.