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Montgomery County students hold gun violence vigil outside White House

Montgomery County students hold gun violence vigil outside White House. Friday, Aug. 9, 2019.{ } (ABC7 photo){ }{p}{/p}
Montgomery County students hold gun violence vigil outside White House. Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. (ABC7 photo)

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Students from Montgomery County gathered outside the White House on Thursday night, to pay tribute to the victims of back-to-back mass shootings in Texas and Ohio.

The group, called Montgomery County Students For Change, organized the vigil to honor the 32 lives that were lost, and to demand action from lawmakers.

"This vigil is an opportunity for all of us to stand together," said Aishlinn Kivlighn, who is the co-president of Montgomery County Students For Change. "Take this time to remember the victims. Their names. Their stories. Their families. And take this time to reflect on why you're here."

Among the crowd was 16-year-old Rebecca Heimbrock: a current Montgomery County resident with a special tie to Dayton.

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"My name is Rebecca Heimbrock, I'm sixteen-years-old, and I am from Dayton, Ohio," she said. "Simply put, Dayton is my home."

She held back tears as she addressed the crowd at Lafayette Park.

"I am here to ask you, to beg of you, do not forget Dayton. So many before this have died, have been traumatized, only for the world to move on," she said. "This weekend we saw the worst of America, now it is up to us to be the best of America."

RELATED: Lawmakers renewing talks of gun control in wake of back-to-back mass shootings

Kivlighn said the student-led organization will continue to push for change when it comes to gun control, with the tragedies in El Paso and Dayton serving as further motivation.

"I would like to see common sense gun safety legislation," she said. "So Montgomery County Students For Change has previously worked for bipartisan background checks, and we are going to continue to work toward that goal, and continue to promote legislation at all levels that will make our country a safer place for everyone."

Thursday's vigil comes as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi echoed the request that's already been made by more than 200 mayors: a request for Senators to cut their August recess short, return to the Capitol, and take action on bipartisan gun safety legislation.

As of Thursday night, lawmakers remain on August recess.

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But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did say he wants Congress to consider legislation that would expand background checks on gun purchases ,when lawmakers return to Washington in the fall.

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