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Gun Control Alliance to Hold Vigil at NRA to Mark Sandy Hook Anniversary

Alliance aims for change by holding monthly vigils, supporting pro gun control politicians.

Members of the Herndon-Reston Alliance to End Gun Violence hold a vigil in front of the National Rifle Association Headquarters. (Photo by Alex McVeigh)
Members of the Herndon-Reston Alliance to End Gun Violence hold a vigil in front of the National Rifle Association Headquarters. (Photo by Alex McVeigh)
Saturday, Dec. 14 will mark one year since 26 people were shot to death in Newtown, Conn. The event led to the gun control debate being thrust into the center spotlight, with gun control advocates pushing toward reform of the country's current laws. 

The Herndon-Reston Alliance to End Gun Violence was formed as a result of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary. Since February, they have held vigils on the 14th of every month the National Rifle Association Headquarters in Fairfax. 

"The only thing that could even remotely be called positive that came out of the Sandy hook shooting, is that the gun violence prevention movement has been coming together and working as a unit to accomplish our goals," said Joanna Simon, one of the alliance's founders. "We were crushed when reforms were shot down at the federal level, but we've learned to continue through these setbacks, they only make us stronger."

This Saturday, they will have another vigil, with special guests who have firsthand experience with the horrors of gun violence. 

Patricia Maisch was at the Safeway shopping center in Tuscon, Ariz., when a shooter opened fire at a crowd that included Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. She wrestled the gun away from the shooter before he could reload. 

Also present will be Nardyne Jefferies, whose 16-year-old daughter was one of three teenagers killed in a shooting in Washington, D.C. in 2010. 

"We keep showing up because we want the NRA to know we're not going away, and we want to keep the fact that people due every day due to gun violence fresh in people's minds," Simon said. "We started with about 25 to 30 people at our early vigils, we've seen as many as 100 in recent ones."

In the year since the shooting, the alliance has spent a lot of their time focusing on November's election, trying to get pro gun control politicians in office. 

"Virginia is kind of a backward state where people can buy guns and move them up and down the east coast. It's a great state for outlaws who want to get guns," Simon said. "Just last year we had a law that limited a person to buying one handgun per month. Now we don't even have that."

Heading into the November 2014 elections, Simon says they are working the hardest on one particular race: the 10th district congressional race, and longtime incumbent Frank Wolf (R). 

"Frank Wolf has been a very pro-gun politician. This year, we presented him a petition signed by 30,000 of his constituents, asking for tougher gun control laws, and he wouldn't hear of it," she said. "We're excited that [Fairfax County Supervisor] John Foust (D-Dranesville) will be stepping up to challenge him, because if he's elected, that's one more vote in our favor. That's how we've got to take it, one vote at a time."

The vigil will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, at the NRA Headquarters, 11250 Waples Mill Road in Fairfax, and Simon says all are welcome to attend. 

More information on the Herndon-Reston Alliance to End Gun Violence can be found on Facebook


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George Chargas December 12, 2013 at 02:33 PM
Its the NRA's fault... faking idiots. Try again, how about you protest at Adam Lanza's grave? You know the one who committed the violence...

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