OKLAHOMA CITY - More than two dozen activists gathered Monday night in church on the city's southwest side for an evening of remembrance and a rallying of support for gun reform legislation ahead of the anniversary of the mass shooting five years ago at a Connecticut elementary school.
On December 14, 2012, a gunman shot and killed 20 young schoolchildren and six staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Since, a number of massacres across the country have topped the death toll.
However, statistics on mass shootings are difficult to come by, as the CDC is prevented from conducting firearms research.
"We’re here, fighting the fight, every day, because of gun violence," said Alyson King, co-leader of the Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America Oklahoma Chapter, which put on the event. "We are not trying to take people's guns away from them. Instead, we're just trying to make sure that people are safe and people are doing what they need to be doing in a common-sense way."
About 30 people attended the event Monday night at Hillcrest Presbyterian Church, 6600 S. Pennsylvania, on the city's southwest side, including State Representatives Emily Virgin, D-Norman, and Cyndi Munson, D-Oklahoma City.
"We shouldn’t have to be afraid," Munson said. "We should feel safe. We should feel peace."
With the ringing of a bell during a moment of silence and lit candles held in attendees hands, participants hope to shed light and let the voices of gun violence victims reverberate across the country, particularly through state houses and the US Capitol.
"We need to demand more of our elected officials and declare that enough is enough," said Rev. Mitch Randall, pastor at NorthHaven Church in Norman. "One more concert goer, one more club patron, one more church attendee, one more employee, one more student, one more child is one too many.”
"Let the memory of Sandy Hook fill our hearts with righteous compassion," he said. "Let the voices of the children echo in our ears so that they know that they have been heard."