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Democratic lawmakers honor gun violence victims at National Mall

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks at the Gun Violence Memorial at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, honoring the 45,000 lives lost to gun violence in 2020 and to call for tougher gun laws. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/dc2514378801a95f8c1eca3731432e12/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks at the Gun Violence Memorial at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, honoring the 45,000 lives lost to gun violence in 2020 and to call for tougher gun laws. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo

June 7 (UPI) -- Several Democratic members of the U.S. House and Senate gathered on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., Tuesday to honor the 45,000 people killed by gun violence each year.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi penned a letter to her colleagues ahead of the event, where lawmakers placed 45,000 flowers in honor of the gun violence victims.

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Peolosi was joined by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar among others.

Former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, whose organization unveiled the memorial on Sunday, also attended the event.

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Giffords survived a mass shooting in 2011 that left six people dead and injured 13 others. The attack left her with brain damage.

"Stopping gun violence takes courage, the courage to do what's right. I've seen great courage when my life was on the line. Now is the time to come together, be responsible. Democrats, Republicans, everyone, we must never stop fighting. Fight, fight, fight. Be bold. Be courageous. The nation is counting on you," Giffords said at the memorial, after being introduced by Pelosi.

"It is a sad heartbreaking time when we see these beautiful flowers symbolizing beautiful lives lost to gun violence and that the number has increased from last year. We must act," Pelosi said during a news conference, where she also had a message for Republican lawmakers who would vote against any new gun legislation.

"Your political survival is nothing compared to the survival of our children, we must protect them."

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The memorial comes a day before Congress debates proposed legislation that would toughen the nation's gun laws.

"The Senate needs to act. The Senate can't wait any longer. So we are this week extending a hand in partnership to our Republican colleagues. But we're not going to settle for a piece of legislation that just checks a box We are only going to move forward with a piece of legislation that saves lives," Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy told the assembled crowd.

"Tomorrow (Wednesday), our Democratic Majority will bring the Protecting Our Kids Act to the Floor, under the leadership of Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler. This urgent package includes a number of bold provisions that will save lives and give hope," Pelosi wrote in her letter.

"On behalf of the survivors of gun violence, and out of respect for those who lost their lives, I am asking all Members of our Caucus to be present on the Floor of the House for the two hours of debate."

This week in Washington

Vice President Kamala Harris speaks as she attends the Capital Pride Festival on Pennsylvania Avenue on Sunday. Photo by Oliver Contreras/UPI | License Photo

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