Survivors of the Accent Signage workplace shooting and Sandy Hook school shooting gathered in downtown Minneapolis on Wednesday in a rally for tighter gun background checks.
Mayors Against Illegal Guns, including Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, put together the 25-state bus tour that stopped in the metro on Wednesday. The rallies call on Congress to pass legislation to extend background checks to private gun sales in commercial settings.
"Background checks are quick and simple and save lives," said Carlee Soto, who lost her older sister, Sandy Hook teacher Victoria Soto, in the Newtown, Conn. shooting.
Victoria Soto was killed trying to protect her first graders from 20-year-old Adam Lanza in December.
"My sister loved teaching. From the day that she was three years old, she wanted to follow in her godmother's footsteps as a teacher," Carlee Soto said.
Carlee Soto continued to say her family and loved ones were not surprised Victoria Soto would give her life to protect her students, but she has since made it her mission to build support for a national law on background checks for gun purchases.
"What Congress should understand is that we are not going away," said Accent Signage victim John Souter.
The No More Names campaign is pushing for the passage of House Resolution 137 in their quest to stem gun violence in the country. Among its provisions is a background check on all firearm transfers by requiring a licensed dealer to look through an instantaneous, national database.
The bill would exempt background checks for transfers between family members or temporary transfers at shooting ranges and sporting events.
The NRA strongly objects to universal background checks because the organization believes it could criminalize the private exchange of guns.
Gun legislation has stalled at the Capitol. The rally which began at 10 a.m. Wednesday outside the U.S. District Courthouse in Minneapolis sought to encourage Reps. Erik Paulson and John Kline to support the bill. Calls to their offices were not returned.
"Gun violence will not end in the heavens but it has to end in our hearts," said Rabbi Michael Adam Latz in a statement to open the rally.