NEWTOWN, Conn. — Frigid temperatures didn’t keep demonstrators from rallying to end gun violence at the headquarters of a trade group for the firearms industry in Newtown.
The demonstration on Sunday, Jan. 17, was organized by Newtown Action Alliance and supported by area gun organizations and churches. The groups rallied against the National Shooting Sports Foundation and called for support of President Barack Obama’s executive actions on gun control.
“It was freezing out, so so cold, but it was a good crowd, maybe 300 or 400 people,” says Greenwich resident and Unitarian Church member Naima Shea. “A lot of people were coming in and out because of the cold. The crowd would’ve been bigger if the weather cooperated.”
Gun control advocates lined up along with gun-rights supporters, but there was no animosity.
“It was peaceful even though we were all together. But they [gun-rights supporters] can’t see our point. They think everyone wants to take their guns,” says Shea. "Can't they see that no one should have assault weapons? No one should carry the same guns soldiers carry."
The participants included The Unitarian Church in Westport, Connecticut Against Gun Violence, Greenwich Council Against Gun Violence, Brady Campaign Southwest Chapter, Enough Campaign, Keep Guns Off Campus and Sandy Hook Teachers for Gun Sense.
Organizers say the Newtown-based National Shooting Sports Foundation uses irresponsible marketing and lobbying practices.
The Unitarian Church in Westport brought the largest group, with nearly 40 members of the congregation in attendance.
This is the first time Shea attended a gun control rally, and she said it’s an effective technique because of the results gained by high visibility. It’s these types of actions that led to the Newtown Action Alliance meeting with Vice President Joe Biden in Washington, D.C., she said.
“Lobbies are strong. People have to push and say ‘enough is enough.’ There are actions that will come out of this,” she says.
The rally took place the day before the National Shooting Sports Foundation kicked off the nation’s largest gun show in Las Vegas.
“We want Newtown to be remembered as a place where a tragedy was transformed into action to end gun violence,” Po Murray, the alliance’s chairwoman, said in a statement on the alliance’s Facebook page.
Newtown is the home of Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 20 first-graders and six educators were killed in a December 2012 mass shooting.
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