Lights of hope
Mayor Bogaard joins Occupy Democracy–Pasadena vigil to end gun violence
By Nick Smith 12/27/2012
Members of Occupy Democracy–Pasadena (ODP) and supporters — among them Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard — gathered on the steps of Pasadena City Hall Saturday to spread awareness of gun violence and mental health care reform in a candlelight vigil organized in the wake of the Dec. 14 massacre of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
Once candles were lit, the crowd of roughly 50 people walked a block and a half to the Paseo Colorado retail and entertainment complex, where demonstrators shared their message of gun-safety awareness with holiday shoppers and passersby.
Gun violence and the Sandy Hook tragedy hit especially close to home for one attendee. “Being a parent, the idea of violence toward a child strikes deep to your core,” said Gregory Harrison, father of two young children, who also attended the event. “We have [to have] some sensible restrictions on what kinds of guns we have in this world.”
Among those in attendance was Bogaard who, along with more than 750 mayors throughout the country, signed a letter to President Obama on Dec. 19, calling for more stringent gun regulations.
One proposal ODP strongly supports is the renewal of the federal assault weapons ban authored by California Democratic US Sen. Dianne Feinstein in 1994, which expired in 2004. Feinstein began spearheading a renewal of the initiative just days after the Newtown shooting, expressing her intention to introduce a bill that would ban 100 specific assault weapons by name.
National Rifle Association spokesman Wayne LaPierre told NBC’s David Gregory on “Meet the Press” on Sunday that the NRA supports putting armed guards on campuses but not ownership restrictions.
Patrick Briggs, co-leader of ODP and organizer of Saturday’s vigil, is cautiously optimistic that renewing the ban would be a turning point in the narrative of gun violence. However, advocacy for the passage of Feinstein’s proposed bill and mental health care reform, according to Briggs, is a step in the right direction.
“An armed society is a hyper-individuated power,” Briggs said. “When you have an armed society, it restricts everybody’s freedom. … Guns create a culture where people fear their neighbors.”