RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – Saturday was National Bill of Rights Day, but in the wake of the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut on Friday that killed 27 people including the shooter, the discussion of the second amendment, our right to bear arms, came up at two very different locations in Central Virginia.
“Even though we knew none of them personally, we all hurt with them,” Emily Helt said. Helt helped organize the VCU Candlelight Vigil.
About twenty people at the vigil lit candles in honor of those killed and placed them in the shape of the letters “CT” for Connecticut.
Following the vigil, Helt joined many around the nation who think this latest mass shooting on American soil should lead to stricter gun laws.
“I can’t trust people I don’t know to carry a weapon,” Helt said. “I believe that it needs to be a longer, stricter process to get a gun.”
Honks of support ring out for gun rights advocates Saturday morning outside an Auto Zone store in Colonial Heights. Those honks show just how divisive this issue really is.
Those advocates were there to protest Auto Zones in the area because of Devin McClean, a York County, VA, man who more than two weeks ago pulled out his own gun after an armed robber entered the Auto Zone McClean worked at. The robber fled, and McClean was fired for his actions.
At Saturday’s protest, the topic of gun rights within the context of the Connecticut shooting was on the mind of Philip Van Cleave with the Virginia Citizen’s Defense League.
“Those weren’t his guns [the shooter]. Those were his mother’s guns. Once he murdered his mother, yeah, then he had access to the guns. He could do what he wanted,” Van Cleave said. “Criminals and crazy people like that always get access [somehow].”
Organizers of the VCU prayer vigil have plans to raise money for the victims’ family, but as of right now, no details have been finalized.
As for the gun rights supporters, Philip Van Cleave said the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy is less about gun control and more about identifying those who suffer mental issues that would cause them to do something like this.