Guns were at the center of national debate Sunday as thousands rallied nationwide demanding that Congress pass laws to make firearms – especially assault-style rifles – harder to buy and sell.

In Charlotte, an estimated 200-plus people marched to First Ward Park to call for stricter gun laws.

U.S. Rep. Alma Adams, who spoke at the rally, said 665 children age 11 and under have died from gun violence in the United States this year.

“We must make changes to our gun laws that value our 330 million fellow Americans more than our 400 million guns,” she said, according to a prepared statement released by her office.

City Council member Malcolm Graham, whose sister was killed by a white, racist gunman who opened fire inside a Black church in Charleston, S.C., in 2015, also attended the rally.

Movement in Washington: On Sunday, a group of senators representing both major parties announced a compromise agreement that would:

  • direct more federal funds to address mental health issues and bolster school safety.
  • require enhanced background checks for prospective gun buyers under age 21.
  • provide funding for states to enact so-called red-flag laws that allow authorities to temporarily confiscate guns from people deemed to be dangerous.
  • extend to dating partners a prohibition on domestic abusers having guns.

Not included:

  • universal background checks
  • a ban on assault rifles
  • raising the minimum age for buying assault rifles from 18 to 21.

Congressional Democrats have pushed for those and other gun safety measures.

In a statement to QCity Metro, a spokesman for Adams called the Senate compromise “a good start.”

If the Senate passes those measures, the spokesman said, Adam would continue to push for “popular common-sense gun legislation.” 

Last week in a 223-204 vote, the House passed a more stringent gun safety bill that would ban the sale of assault rifles. It also would require universal background checks and ban the sale of high-capacity gun magazines and clips.

Five House Republicans voted for the bill; two Democrats voted against it.

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