When U.S. Rep Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) spoke in the courtyard of his Portland district office the morning of Aug. 6, he was surrounded by advocates holding signs for gun control, unseating Senate Majority Leader "Moscow Mitch" McConnell and for President Donald Trump's removal.
Blumenauer, who has said that Trump's racism incites violence, said that Trump and McConnell must "face the consequences" for their inaction on gun control legislation.
The flag behind Blumenauer flew at half-mast.
Addressing the gathering of advocates from groups including Indivisible and Moms Demand Action, Blumenauer spoke about gun safety in the wake of the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, which together killed 31 people this weekend.
He asked the crowd to help "turn up the heat" on McConnell and other senators who have held back two gun safety bills which the House passed, one requiring background checks on private firearm sales and the other that extends the background check review period from three to 10 days.
Blumenauer said it's time to defeat senators who won't support gun control.
"This is it," Blumenauer said, sporting a bow-tie and a red Moms Demand Action t-shirt. "This is our democracy, this is gun safety, this is healing the wounds that are being inflicted on our society by the incumbent in the White House every single day."
Tuesday's rally was already scheduled before this weekend's shootings as part of "Resist Tuesdays" organized by Indivisible Oregon on the first Tuesday of every month.
This rally, according to attendees, was part of "Impeachment August," a national movement asking lawmakers to move towards an impeachment inquiry and to come back early from their recess, scheduled to end on Sept. 9th.
"These particular issues, they are intertwined, they are not isolated—of human rights at the border, of election security, of gun violence prevention, of saving our democracy— are all together," said Smitha Chadaga, chair of the Oregon chapter of Indivisible. "And frankly, are exemplified in this president who is doing nothing to help them, and in fact is inciting white supremacy violence and white supremacy tactics with all of this."
At the rally, one woman was handing out copies of an op-ed from the Oregonian by U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) calling for Trump's impeachment. It details the senator's trip to the U.S.-Mexico border, the Mueller report and foreign interference in elections. Both Wyden and Blumenauer, along with U.S. Reps Suzanne Bonamici and Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), have stated their support of an impeachment inquiry.
Attendees said they believe change can come from appealing to elected officials.
Hilary Uhlig is the Oregon Chapter leader for Moms Demand Action, a grassroots organization which advocates for gun safety measures and responsible gun ownership founded after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on December 14, 2012.
There have been more than 2,000 mass shootings since then, according to VOX, but Uhlig rejects the idea that nothing has changed as a result.
"There's been lots of change," Uhlig said, siting gun control at the state level, such as Oregon's universal background checks and taking guns from domestic abusers. "There is progress made every day in all kinds of different states, and if we could finally get some federal progress, that would be awesome."