Chicagoans call for an end to gun violence - Chicago News and Weather | FOX 32 News

Chicagoans call for an end to gun violence

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

A Saturday night candlelight vigil to stop gun violence comes two days after the Senate vote to allow the debate to continue on gun legislation. It was just one of many across the country. At Federal Plaza in Downtown Chicago, community groups and activists hoped their voices were heard and their message resonates with the public who they're urging to contact lawmakers.

"The bullet went into my right leg, came out, went in, still carrying it here in one piece, it missed all veins, arteries and bones. He was shooting hollow points that day and I was fortunate that it didn't explode and stayed in one piece," said Garrett Evans, a survivor of the Virginia Tech massacre.

Evans is south side Chicago native. He was just one of several people who braced the chilly spring temperatures to stand in support of Senate Bill 649, The Safe Schools, Safe Communities Act of 2013 that would demand new gun laws.

"We need a background check. That's the reason I was shot, there was no background check, the guy who shot us had a history of mental illness and since he wasn't red-flagged he was able to buy a gun off the internet," said Evans.

"SB 649 would ensure that all individuals who should be prohibited from buying a firearm are listed in the national instant criminal background check system and require a background check for every firearm sale and for other purposes," according to the U.S. Senate's website.

"We would like to see that passed immediately. It is something that is a good and sensible solution and the first step in instituting universal background checks and closing some of those really dangerous loopholes," said Nellie Sires, a Volunteer State Lead for Illinois' Organizing for Action.

But a bumpy road lies ahead.

"It's still something I can't support. It moves us in a direction of the government taking more and more control. Of the government moving however incrementally in the direction of universal back ground checks, and I think that's a problem," said Senator Mike Lee, (R-UT).

On Saturday night, some in Chicago said that government needs to step in to make sure more kids are not killed.

"We are teachers and we think it's very important to stand up for our children and we want to see some legislation put in place to curb some of the gun violence that our children are experiencing every day," said Kathleen Valenta, a teacher.

Each candle at the vigil, symbolized a life loss due to gun violence. Many of the people who participated are supporters of Senate Bill 649. They are pushing for strict record-keeping to prove background checks in gun purchases.

The opposition says the Second Amendment rights of law abiding gun owners are at stake.

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