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Gun-control supporters gather in Phoenix for National Day to Demand Action

Gun-control rally at Cesar Chavez Plaza in downtown Phoenix. (KTAR Photo/Jim Cross)

PHOENIX -- It's National Day to Demand Action, as people call for universal background checks on all gun buyers and an assault weapons ban.

A group gathered Thursday for a downtown rally at Cesar Chavez Plaza.

Mari Bailey's son Michael was 21 when he was shot and killed almost 10 years ago. That was when she began her fight to stop gun violence. She said that this 100th day since the Connecticut school shootings prompts the time for tougher gun laws.

"If it saves one life, and one more mom from going what I went through, let's do this."

The Center for American Progress said Arizona is the ninth-deadliest state for gun violence with a rate 40 percent higher than the national average.

The center said 3,300 people were murdered by guns in Arizona from 2001 to 2010. That's almost double the number of all U.S. combat deaths in the Afghanistan war.

Gerry Hills, with Arizonans for Gun Safety, said there's no magic solution to stopping gun violence. It will take more than just tougher laws.

"A background check is only as good as the database it's checked against. Arizona has 120,000 mental health records missing from the system. We have domestic violence restraining orders missing from the system."

Her brother was killed in a 1994 mass shooting in Michigan.

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About the Author


Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.

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