On the morning of Friday, June 14, which was the six-month anniversary of 12/14, Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) staged a well-attended rally on the plaza in front of Edmond Town Hall to stress the group’s drive for increased gun control to reduce the violence in society.
MAIG is seeking legislation for comprehensive background checks for potential gun buyers to curb gun violence.
Several hundred people attended the event, many of whom were from the press doing coverage of Newtown in the aftermath of 12/14. In that tragic incident, a rampaging gunman shot his way into Sandy Hook School with a semiautomatic rifle and then killed 20 first grade students and six educators before killing himself as police approached.
Just before the MAIG rally started, at 9:30 am church bells could be heard tolling in the distance in remembrance of those killed on 12/14.
Survivors of Victoria Soto, an educator who was killed on 12/14, started the event with 26 seconds of silence in memory of those who died at the school.
Steve Barton of Southbury, who was wounded in a July 2012 movie theater shooting incident in Aurora, Colo., is affiliated with MAIG. The rally was held to formally remember all people who have been affected by gun violence, he said.
“Newtown has seen unspeakable tragedy,” he said.
Judging by the turnout at the event and the demeanor of those present, he added, “You’re stronger than ever before.”
Southbury First Selectman Ed Edelson said, “There’s too much gun violence in our society.”
Following 12/14, the Southbury Board of Selectmen resolved to work toward having effective gun control be legislated on both the state and federal levels, he said.
“This is about common sense,” he said.
Mr Barton now actively pursues measures to reduce gun violence, Mr Edelson said.
Gilles Rousseau, the father of Lauren Rousseau, another educator who was killed on 12/14, spoke at the rally in favor of increased gun control.
Tom Mahoney, who manages operations at Edmond TownHall, then lit a flame in a symbolic lantern which would burn on June 14 signifying MAIG’s drive for reduced gun violence.
Mr Barton said that to demonstrate its desire for reduced gun violence, MAIG would have volunteers read the names of the more than 6,000 people in the US who have been killed due to gun violence since 12/14.
The list of names, which was read in turn by various volunteers, noted the name of the person who died, their age, the date that they died, and where they were killed.
The reading of names, which is scheduled to continue throughout the day, until 9:30 this evening, occurred on a small stage positioned in front of a large vehicle that bears graphics depicting “No More Names: The National Drive to Reduce Gun Violence.”
MIAG is launching an anti-gun violence tour from Newtown. The group plans to travel to 25 states during a 100-day period. The tour will promote the need for comprehensive background checks for potential gun buyers.