WASHINGTON -- It could last several weeks, but family members of victims and survivors of gun violence are planning to hold a round-the-clock vigil on Capitol Hill until the Senate passes gun policy reform.
Demonstrations, spearheaded by allied progressive groups and faith-based organizations, have already preceded the Senate's vote Thursday to allow a bill to enter debate and amendment period. Over 32 hours and 40 minutes, volunteers read the names of individuals killed in firearm-related instances since the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., in December.
Now that the Senate has begun debating the bill, which includes a compromise on expanding the background check system, the demonstration will begin again. Starting when the Senate reconvenes on Monday and continuing until senators vote on the final passage of a bill, volunteers will once again read the names of gun violence victims, regardless of time or weather.
Arkadi Gerney, who is running the "NoMoreNames" vigil for the Center for American Progress, acknowledged that the action could go on for weeks. The amend-and-debate process is expected to feature a number of contentious items, and each could mean prolonged consideration and difficult vote gathering.
Demonstrators, nevertheless, will be on the House of Representatives side of Capitol Hill reading the names of victims in 20-minute shifts. Guerney said there will be several prominent figures participating. Eddie Weingart, who witnessed his mother being shot and killed by her ex-husband when he was just two-and-a-half years old, will lead the vigil.
Groups participating in NoMoreNames include the Center for American Progress Action Fund, Americans for Responsible Solutions, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Coalition To Stop Gun Violence, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, chapters of Million Mom March, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, Newtown Action Alliance, PICO National Network, Project to End Gun Violence, Protest Easy Guns, and Sojourners.