As the nation reflects after a wave of deadly shootings, concerned residents and activists hold a vigil to speak out against gun violence in the U.S. and support the passage of sensible gun regulation.
Supporters of President Obama's gun safety initiatives embodied in recently proposed Federal legislation will hold a vigil this Thursday at the San Francisco Federal Building. The vigil organized by local citizens together with gun violence prevention organizations and human rights groups, seeks to keep public concern about gun violence visible while backing House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to push for swift Congressional action to require:
• Background checks for all who purchase firearms.
• Banning the sale of high capacity ammunition magazines.
• Banning the sale of military-style semiautomatic assault weapons.
“We are here today to support Minority Leader Pelosi's embrace of the president's call, which includes universal background checks for every person who seeks to buy a firearm,” said Griffin Dix of the California Brady Campaign Chapters, who will speak at the vigil.
Dix added, “Universal background checks will make it harder for convicted criminals to purchase guns. They have helped in California where the latest 2010 CDC data show we have a lower firearm mortality rate and a lower firearm homicide rate than the rest of the country. We ask legislators, ‘Why make it easy for criminals to buy guns from private sellers without background checks?’”
High capacity ammunition magazines and military style assault weapons endanger communities in the United States but are an even bigger problem in Mexico.
“The easy availability of assault weapons and high capacity magazines in the U.S. quickly becomes a foreign policy issue”, said Ted Lewis of Global Exchange, one of the sponsors of the vigil. "Assault weapons legally purchased in the U.S. are smuggled to Mexico by the thousands where they escalate violence that has already resulted in over sixty thousand murders in just the last six years."
The magnitude of the gun violence problem in the U.S was underlined last December 14th, when 20-year-old Adam Lanza entered Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, armed with a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle and two handguns and unleashed what would become the second deadliest school shooting in U.S. history after the Virginia Tech massacre of 2007. Twenty first-graders and six educators were killed before Lanza took his own life.
In honor of the lives tragically snuffed out in Newtown and by everyday gun violence across the U.S., participants in the vigil will symbolically place 26 sets of shoes on the sidewalk, one by one, and recite the names of those murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The vigil is sponsored by an ad hoc group called SF Community to End Gun Violence that brings Moveon.org, Global Exchange, and the California Brady Campaign together with teachers, parents, students, workers and other citizens from across the Bay Area.