About 100 people gathered Thursday night at Judea Reform Congregation on Cornwallis Road to call for gun-violence reforms and to comfort those directly affected by gun violence.
The vigil was one of over 500 events happening in 39 states this week commemorating the third anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, as well as the 90,000 American victims of gun violence since December 2012.
Leaders at the vigil called on lawmakers in Raleigh and Washington, D.C., to support universal background checks and other violence prevention policies.
“There are steps we can take to stop this from becoming the new normal. We may not stop all gun violence, but common sense gun reforms can and do keep us safe,” said Becky Ceartas, executive director of North Carolinians Against Gun Violence. “Eighty-seven percent of North Carolinians, 83 percent of gun owners, and 72 percent of NRA members support background checks for all gun sales.”
There have been 355 mass shootings in the United States in 2015. Twelve –almost twice the per-state average – were in North Carolina.
According to Everytown for Gun Safety, since the Sandy Hook shooting there have been over 150 school shootings, nearly one school shooting per week. There have been nearly 1,000 mass shootings, defined as four or more people shot in the same incident and approximately 240,000 Americans will have been killed or injured by guns. Gun violence affects people regardless of age, income, location, religion, and race.
NCGV co-hosted the vigil along with a number of other organizations including the Campaign 4 Change, Durham Crisis Response Center, Durham County Gun Safety Team, Moms Rising, Murder Victims’ Families for Reconciliation, N.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence, N.C. Council of Churches, N.C. Justice Center, Parents of Murdered Children, and Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham.
NCGV is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1993 after a jogger was shot and killed in Chapel Hill.