Responding to mass shootings, honoring victims, and demanding “common-sense gun reform," volunteers and supporters with the Pennsylvania chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Everytown for Gun Safety gathered Sunday at the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral in University City.

Originally motivated by the El Paso and Dayton shootings — and reinforced by two consecutive days of mass shootings in Philadelphia — they were joined by more than 100 gun safety rallies in all 50 states.

Organizers called them “recess rallies” to pressure lawmakers to change gun laws in America.

Rosalind Pichardo (left) cofounder of Operation Save Our City, holds a photo of murder victim Alejandro "Alex" Rojas-Garcia, as his mother, Aleida Garcia, founder of the National Homicide Justice Alliance, speaks at the rally.
TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
Rosalind Pichardo (left) cofounder of Operation Save Our City, holds a photo of murder victim Alejandro "Alex" Rojas-Garcia, as his mother, Aleida Garcia, founder of the National Homicide Justice Alliance, speaks at the rally.

The shootings sparked fresh debate over the nation’s gun laws amid stalemates in Congress and many state legislatures, including Pennsylvania’s.

In Philadelphia, relatives of shooting victims, several community organization representatives, and elected officials spoke, including U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans and state Sen. Sharif Street, who both represent the district where six police officers were shot Wednesday during a 7½-hour standoff in Tioga.

State Sen. Sharif Street -- who represents the district where Wednesday's police shooting took place -- speaks during the rally.
TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
State Sen. Sharif Street -- who represents the district where Wednesday's police shooting took place -- speaks during the rally.

The groups want Congress to pass legislation requiring background checks on all gun sales and a strong gun violence prevention law, also known as a Red Flag law.

The organizations are also spending more than $1 million on advertising aimed at key Republican senators during the August recess.

“If the president is serious about leading now, then he’ll break with the NRA and tell Majority Leader [Mitch} McConnell to bring the Senate back and pass background checks and Red Flag legislation,” Everytown said in a statement.

Catherine Knoferl of Woodbury, N.J. holds a sign as she joins other volunteers and supporters rallying Sunday at the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral to honor shooting victims and demand "common-sense gun reform."
TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
Catherine Knoferl of Woodbury, N.J. holds a sign as she joins other volunteers and supporters rallying Sunday at the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral to honor shooting victims and demand "common-sense gun reform."