West Hartford rally aims to end gun violence

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WEST HARTFORD – In the wake of tragedy in Las Vegas, the gun control debate is gaining renewed force.

A rally to end gun violence was held, Wednesday, in West Hartford by Town Councilor Beth Kerrigan and Women’s March CT. Speakers at the event initiated songs, prayers and read the names of those who were killed in Las Vegas on October 1.

“What we're calling for is action we want lawmakers at the federal level to take some type of action to make our country safer and to prevent gun violence,” Co-organizer Jillian Gilchrest said.

Those who lost family members to gun violence also spoke out.

“Five years ago, October 20th, my only child was Hartford’s 20th homicide,” a mother said. “If we all continue to unite together we can make congress hear our cries.”
A similar message shared in a press conference on Capitol Hill as House Democrats demanded legislation.

”I'm angry, angry that we are here yet again, angry that Sandy Hook and 20 dead first graders weren't enough to spark change,” Rep. Robin Kelly, (D) Illinois said. “Angry that it took 477 days for Pulse to be surpassed as our Nation's worst mass shooting.”

Former Republican Gabby Giffords, who was critically injured in a shooting, also spoke at the press conference, calling on all parties to come together and fight.

Connecticut lawmakers on the forefront of the gun control debate, zeroing in on Bump-fire stocks.

“Thoughts and prayers are not enough. Mr President in visiting Las Vegas today, I hope you will provide leadership and at the very least back a bill that stops the killer accelerators like these bump stocks,” Senator Richard Blumenthal said. “This device has not purpose but to convert an already deadly weapon into a completely lethal carnage force multiplier.”

Bump-fire stocks are devices that can allow semi-automatic weapons to have the same effect as automatic weapons. When it comes to semi-automatic weapons, you must pull the trigger every time to fire a round. If you hold the trigger down on an automatic weapon, it will continue fire until it is released or out of ammunition.

According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, twelve bump-fire stocks were found on firearms recovered from Stephen Paddock’s hotel room.

While automatic weapons are tightly regulated in the U.S., the use of bump-fire stocks in semi-automatic weapons is legal and can be purchased online.

“I would expect that legislators and perhaps my own administration would move to limit the sale of those in our state,” Governor Dannel Malloy said.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, (D) California, introduced legislation to stop the sale of bump stocks and similar accessories.

“There is no better way to honor the 59 people who were slaughtered than to take action to prevent this from happening yet again,” Sen. Feinstein said.

Some Republican leaders said this is a conversation they’re open to having.

The Connecticut Citizens Defense League released a statement regarding bump stops:

While lawmakers try to figure out what they are going to do in the aftermath of this sheer mayhem, we subscribe to the belief that inanimate objects do not cause mass murders. Mass casualty events can also occur when murderers use large vehicles, bombs or any number of means. One needs only to look towards Europe, or even past events here as well. This killer had carefully planned out a catastrophic event in great detail.

In reaction to the shooting the CCDL wrote:

Unfortunately, people bent on murder will always find a way to commit atrocities. Our 2nd Amendment rights must be protected regardless of any legislative proposals considered by lawmakers.

**CNN contributed to this report**