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Dozens Come Out to Raise Awareness for Gun Violence on "Wear Orange Weekend"

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Around the country, people are raising awareness for gun violence by wearing orange. 

Dozens of families and children showed up to "Wear Orange Day" here in Springfield, organized by Moms Demand Action.

According to Springfield Mom's Demand Action Lead Jean Knapp, the color orange has a long and proud history in the gun safety movement.

"Orange is the color that Hadiya Pendleton's friends wore in her honor after she was shot and killed," said Knapp.

In addition, the color orange is also what hunters wear in the woods to avoid getting shot.

The event started off with live music and honoring victims of gun violence.

"We will, therefore, offer a moment of silence to honor all of you who have survived gun violence, incidents, and to remember those who have died due to the terrible gun violence epidemic in our country," said a speaker.

The growing gun violence problem in America hits close to home for participants like Helen Bedel, who just want the issue resolved.

"I just don't want to ever read about Springfield," explained Bedel, "I just wish we could just come together, schools come together, come with some kind of solution, figure out how we can eliminate this before it even happens."

That's exactly what Moms Demand Action is pushing for. 

Member Kent Stalder explained Moms Demand Action's three solutions to decrease gun violence.

Using a universal background check, "that keeps track of all guns so that they don't get involved or get involved in fewer crimes," said Stalder.

Implementing red flag laws in Missouri "which allow people in crisis, people who may be suicidal, to have their guns removed on a temporary basis," Stalder explained.

And training families with gun safety at home, Stalder said, "we think there are too many unsecured guns in the home with children, and there are a lot of preventable deaths that happen that way."

One survivor spoke about her experience with unsecured guns at home.

Robbers broke into her house then took her husband's gun and killed him with his own weapon. 

"At that moment, half my family was gone," the speaker explained, "my oldest son Troy who was only 20, 21 during the horrific time, endured years of emotional and mental highs and lows. Gun violence is not just a one-time event. It is a memory that will carry on for the lifetime whether you are the victim or the bystander."

Some members from March for our Lives along with former Springfield Mayor Jim O'Neal also attended to show their support for this cause.


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