Posted at: 05/11/2013 10:27 PM
Updated at: 05/12/2013 12:07 PM
By: Steve Flamisch
ALBANY -- Gun control advocates rallied Saturday in Washington Park as part of a unified push for "middle-ground solutions" at the federal level.
The group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America staged similar rallies in cities across the country, unveiling "A Mother's Bill of Rights" that includes, among others, a mom's right to know her children are safe.
"Eight children die every day in this country from gun violence," Pam Dudoff, co-leader of the group's local chapter, told NewsChannel 13. "There are a lot of mothers that are grieving their children."
Dudoff and her fellow advocates want to make gun trafficking a federal crime with stiffer penalties, and they are calling for a federal ban on assault weapons, magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, and online sales of ammunition. They also want large ammo purchases reported to the ATF.
Their agenda endured a setback last month when the U.S. Senate voted down a bill to expand background checks on commercial gun sales. Fifty-four senators -- including those who represent Mass., N.Y., and Vt. -- voted in favor of the bill, but 46 senators voted against it. Sixty votes were needed for passage.
"Our senators failed us," Dudoff said.
At its annual convention earlier this month in Houston, the National Rifle Association (NRA) celebrated the bill's defeat and vowed even more opposition to efforts to strengten the nation's gun laws.
"We will never back away from our resolve to defend our rights," NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said on May 3.
In a twist, a growing number of people on the NRA's side of the debate are women. Statistics show the number of female gun owners has grown by 77 percent over the last seven years.
"A couple of years ago, I had a home invasion and was held-up at gunpoint," gun owner Marilou Robbins told NBC News at the NRA Convention. "I was lucky enough to get away."
Dudoff said she understands the need to protect oneself, but she insisted guns put children at risk.
"Right now, as a mom defending my children and everybody else's children [means] advocating for stronger gun laws," she said.
Her group was joined at the rally by Grannies for Peace, SNUG (guns spelled backward), and Pastor Willie D. Bacote of the Missing Link A.M.E. Zion Church in Troy.
Despite high-profile acts of gun violence such as the December shooting spree at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., overall gun violence is actually down.
The number of crimes committed with guns dropped 70 percent from 1993 to 2011, according to statistics provided by the U.S. Justice Department. Murders committed with guns fell 39 percent during that same time.