SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – United States Senators are still discussing a piece of gun legislation brought forward by ten Democrats and ten Republicans earlier this week. The legislation offers modest gun restrictions paired with efforts to improve school safety and mental health programs.

A few days before the framework of this deal was announced, lawmakers met with groups advocating for gun safety measures. Those groups also held rallies in front of the Capitol.

“You can’t look away. We have to be so loud that you can hear us and that you’re forced to pay attention and do something,” Tiffany Thoelke, a Sioux Falls mom and member of Moms Demand Action, said.

Last week, the organizations Students Demand Action and Moms Demand Action rallied in front of the U.S. Capitol, demanding lawmakers pass gun safety laws. The students wore bulletproof vests.

“And when you see that in person, it’s really powerful in the photo, but when you’re there and you realize like, Woah, this might almost be the safest thing for these kids to wear right now, you just kind of, like I got emotional,” Thoelke said.

Thoelke was at the rally. She also got the chance to talk with lawmakers about the bipartisan gun legislation currently making its way through the Senate.

“It’s going to save lives but again it’s not all set in stone. And so, I don’t think you celebrate at all because I think it’s passed the time. But you feel proud that you were a part of it,” Thoelke said.

She says the issue of gun violence goes beyond the 213 mass shootings that have happened just in 2022.

“Domestic violence, you know. Suicide. Suicide is gun violence and I don’t think a lot of people realize that,” Thoelke said.

Thoelke says the recent legislation is a step in the right direction, but there’s still work to be done.

“How many more people have to die before we just realize that this isn’t a partisan issue. This is, these are our loved ones that are impacted,” Thoelke said.

Thoelke received a lot of attention for a photo of her breastfeeding her baby while in D.C. The founder of Mom’s Demand Action shared it on her Instagram and it now has over 26 thousand likes. Thoelke told KELOLAND News she took the picture as a way to become more comfortable with breastfeeding in public.