Orange-clad activists crowded into the Massachusetts State House Tuesday to honor the lives lost to gun violence and call for continued policy action to make communities safer.

Among them was former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who has pushed for gun reform after surviving an assassination attempt and mass shooting in 2011. Giffords told the group she’s never given up hope.

“It can be so difficult. Losses hurt. Setbacks are hard,” she said. “But I tell myself, move ahead. I’m finding joy in small things: Riding my bike, playing the French horn, going to the gym, laughing with friends. The small things add up. We are living in challenging times. We’re up for the challenge.”

The event marked National Gun Violence Awareness Month. It came days after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a national ban on bump stocks – devices that allow some weapons to fire more rapidly – and as state lawmakers are trying to push a gun-law reform bill over the finish line.

Bump stocks remain illegal in Massachusetts under a 2017 state law.

Senate President Karen Spilka said Massachusetts has some of the country’s strictest gun laws and one of the lowest rates of gun violence in the country.

“And that is not by accident,” said Spilka, an Ashland Democrat. “We have been vigilant in updating our laws.”

The latest gun reform state lawmakers are pursuing includes a crackdown on untraceable weapons known as ghost guns.

The House and the Senate have each passed gun bills targeting ghost guns and narrowing the list of public buildings where firearms can be carried.

The two bills diverge in several key areas. A team of six lawmakers has been working since March to reconcile the differences, with the goal of getting a compromise bill to Gov. Maura Healey by the July 31 end of formal legislative sessions.

“We will get that done,” House Speaker Ron Mariano said.

Ruth Zakarin, CEO of the Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, said the state can make more progress by “investing in community-based solutions and listening to data and research.”

“And we must,” she said. “Just in these past several days, we have seen a mass shooting in Methuen as well as teenagers shot and killed in Lynn and Lowell. Massachusetts has seen six domestic violence murder-suicides so far this year, all committed with a firearm. These incidents are both a cause for alarm, but they’re also a call to action.”