Survivors of the Fourth of July parade mass shooting and the Uvalde, Texas, mass shooting converged in Washington, D.C., Wednesday for a rally and march to the Capitol to demand a ban on assault weapons.
Kimberly Rubio, the mother of 10-year-old Lexi Rubio, who was among the 21 people gunned down in the May 24 mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, was overcome with emotion as she addressed the crowd.
"I try to view Room 111 through her eyes. I picture which side of the room she and her classmates huddled against," she said. "I envision the scene facing the justice of the peace ... as he walked into my youngest daughter's classroom tasked with pronouncing dead multiple 9-, 10- and 11-year-olds."
"Now I want you to picture my face, my husband's face, as we read our daughter's death certificate ... as we read her cause of death -- gunshot wound to the head," Rubio said.
Rubio said she's "angry as hell" and is "demanding change."
"I was with my daughter at 10:54 that morning and there are a lot of 'what ifs.' What if I had taken her home after the award ceremony? What if the doors had just locked properly?" she said.
But Rubio said the question she wants to be on the forefront of lawmakers' minds is: "What if the gunman never had access to an assault weapon? I want that question to be the first thing to cross their mind in the morning and the last thought they have before they go to bed."
Angel Garza, whose 10-year-old stepdaughter, Amerie Jo Garza, was killed in Uvalde, wept as he took the mic.
"I promise you, I promise you -- you do not want this to happen to you," he said.
Oscar Orona told the crowd about his son, Noah Orona, who was shot in the back in his Uvalde classroom and managed to survive the massacre. As Noah bled, tried to play dead and waited over one hour to be rescued, he witnessed a classmate take her last breaths, "gurgling blood through her mouth and her nose," his father said.
"My son is with us, but he is not the same," Orona said, urging people to not forget about the survivors. "They face an uphill battle every day."
"I'm jealous of the Highland Park community because their lawmakers are here speaking out for banishing assault rifles. I wish I could tell you that we had in Texas the same experience, but we do not," he said. "I will not rest ... until we ban assault rifles in Texas."
A Highland Park, Illinois, woman who was at last week's Fourth of July parade mass shooting with her husband and three children told the crowd about the questions her 6-year-old daughter has been asking her over the last week: "Mommy, can bullets get through my door? Can they go through my window at night when I'm sleeping? ... Where does a bullet have to hit me to kill me? When will my nightmares stop? ... Was your hand over my heart when we were hiding because you would stop the bullet from killing me?"
Seven people were killed and dozens were injured when a gunman opened fire on parade-goers with a high-powered rifle.
She said her daughter's question that keeps her up at night the most is: "Mommy, this won't happen again to me, right?"
Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., who met with Highland Park survivors on Tuesday, thanked the rally-goers, telling them, "You now are the warriors for justice for a ban on assault weapons."
"The answer is to not ever give up until we ban these weapons of war," she said.
Rally participant Natalie Lorentz was at last week's Fourth of July parade with her mother, husband and three young children when the gunfire broke out.
"I have moments where I feel panic, anxiety, like I'm back there. Moments of just overwhelming sadness," Lorentz told ABC News' "Good Morning America" Wednesday. "Then moments of just numbness where I'm compartmentalizing and trying to put one foot in front of the other."
Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., who also addressed the rally, told "GMA" Wednesday that when she saw video of the gunfire, the sounds brought her back to her time serving in the Iraq War.
"It's a very distinctive sound, and the last time I heard it on the Fourth of July was in Iraq. And I never thought I'd hear it on U.S. soil ... especially in small-town America," Duckworth said.
Duckworth commended the bipartisan gun safety package President Joe Biden signed into law last month, which broke a nearly 30-year stalemate on Capitol Hill. But she said more must be done, including banning assault weapons, banning high-capacity magazines and enacting universal background checks.
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., an advocate for gun reform since the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre, said at the rally, "We have made more progress in the last 30 days than we made in the last 30 years. And the bill that we passed will save lives."
"After 30 years of nothing, we have finally become stronger than the gun lobby. Now, nothing can stop us," he said, telling the crowd they should keep pushing and demand an assault weapons ban.
"It can't come fast enough. We do not have the luxury of time," Murphy said.
Over 500 people were expected to attend Wednesday's rally, Lorentz said. The group is also set to attend meetings Wednesday at the White House and with U.S. representatives, she said.
"We don't plan to go away or to stop talking about it until we make some real change," Lorentz said.