WJRT: Gun violence victims rally with Mayors Against Illegal Guns

September 19, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The people of Mid-Michigan know the impact of gun violence first-hand. On Thursday, Flint Mayor Dayne Walling joined a group of advocates in our nation’s capital pushing for tougher background checks for gun sales.

Nine-thousand names of Americans killed by gun violence since the Sandy Hook school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut were read aloud Thursday in Washington, D.C., in the shadow of Capitol Hill.

Survivors of the Colorado movie theater shooting, relatives of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, mothers, fathers, and advocates were all present, and rallied to demand tougher background checks when buying a gun.

“Background checks won’t stop every shooting, but they certainly will save lives,” said Carlee Soto, the sister of Victoria Soto, who was killed in Newtown last December.

An organization called “No More Names: National Drive to Reduce Gun Violence” organized the rally, and traveled by bus across the country to spread their message.

Finally, after 1,000 days and stops in 25 states, the “No More Names” bus tour came to an end Thursday. But the event was scheduled long before Monday’s massacre at the Navy Yard.

“It again raised the national profile,” Walling said.

Walling is a member of “Mayors Against Illegal Guns,” and was asked to read some of the victims’ names.

“I believe in the Second Amendment, I believe in gun rights, but I don’t believe that convicted felons should be able to buy military-style weapons and come after our kids and cops,” Walling said.

The background checks legislation Walling and supporters are pushing was shut down by the Senate in April, and has yet to reach the House floor.

This week, Democratic Senator Bob Casey (PA) said it would be difficult to pass such legislation in the near future, because of pressing fiscal issues like the budget and debt crisis.

“But it doesn’t mean the debate shouldn’t continue,” Casey said.

And keeping the debate alive is exactly what this group is doing, with one advocate saying, “If Congress can’t change gun laws, we’re going to change Congress.”

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