Mayors Against Illegal Guns host rallies across country to promote gun reform, background checks

PHOENIX - Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group made up of 900 mayors and grassroots activists, hosted events around the country Thursday to promote expanded background checks on gun sales and tougher gun laws. Two events were planned in Arizona.

Maricopa County Board Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox and two church pastors led a rally in Phoenix. It started at 10 a.m. at Cesar Chavez Plaza, across from Phoenix City Hall.

Tucson shooting survivors Pam Simon and Daniel Hernandez Jr., South Tucson Mayor Jennifer Eckstrom, and Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild held a news conference in Tucson. It started at 11 a.m. at South Tucson City Hall.

The rallies focused on a petition drive and generating calls into senate district offices. Activists want support for comprehensive and enforceable background checks.

The group says this will be the largest advocacy event to stop gun violence in history. There are more than 100 planned events across the country, according to a news release.

Last week, the group made news for launching a multi-million dollar ad campaign targeting senators who have wavered on gun violence issues. 

Ed Hightower, a gun store owner in Mesa, says expanded background checks may seem like a good idea but they won't make the streets any safer.

Hightower says people kill people, not guns.

At the Phoenix event, Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox talked publicly for the very first time about when she was shot in 1997. She said the man who shot her served his time and is walking the streets. She said she fears every day he could get a gun again.

Wilcox called on all community leaders to stand up and end gun violence.

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