Hundreds of people packed Boston City Hall Plaza Sunday afternoon, calling for gun reform and urging senators to return from their summer recess to vote on a background checks bill.
The rally, organized by the gun reform groups Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Everytown for Gun Safety, came two weeks after a pair of mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, left 31 people dead.
Organizers, volunteers, politicians and gun violence survivors spoke at the Boston rally.
In-depth news coverage of the Greater Boston Area.
"If they brought a background check bill out for a vote on the senate floor, it would pass," Ruth Rollins said. "It's Mitch McConnell who is answering to the NRA not allowing us to have that debate.”
Rollins' son Daniel was shot and killed in 2007.
"Gun violence is not an urban issue," she said. "It is a national issue, and we all have to work together to play our part."
When Boston Mayor Marty Walsh was asked what he can do to help, he responded he could work with other mayors to put pressure on the Senate.
“I have a message for Mitch McConnell — do your job!” Mayor Walsh said.
Walsh, a Democrat, was referring to Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has refused to hold a vote on a bipartisan background checks bill that cleared the House in February.
“I should not be here with you today,” Democratic Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts said. “I should be on the floor of the United States Senate right now.”
Markey said he’s ready to return to Washington any time.
“I think senators across the country would be ready to go back,” he said, “but Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump do not want a vote that in any way irritates the National Rifle Association.”
Similar rallies were held around the country Saturday seeking to pressure Congress to tighten the nation's gun laws after the recent mass shootings
Organizers are pressing Congress to pass legislation to require background checks on all gun sales and a "red flag'' bill to make it easier to take guns from people who may be suicidal or violent to others.
Senator McConnell has said that the gun reform debate will be front and center when the Senate returns next month, but he hasn't promised to hold any votes.
A week after the shootings in El Paso and Dayton, NBC News and the Wall Street Journal asked 1,000 adults about expanding background checks to all gun sales in America, and 89-percent supported the idea.