A moment of silence lasted 100 seconds on Saturday -- one for every person who dies from gun violence every day in the U.S.
About 150 people shared this moment at Cypress and Grove Brewery during a recess rally, which called for the Senate to take action against gun violence while in recess. Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a non-profit advocacy organization, hosted the event. Many attendees’ flooded the room wearing shirts with the organization’s name and logo in red.
Eight speakers, including Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe, spoke about the fight to end America’s mass shooting epidemic.
“We as a city -- because we cannot wait for action at the state and federal level -- are going to holistically and systemically address gun violence in our city,” Poe said. “We need to make sure the folks in Tallahassee and the folks in Washington hear us as well.”
Catherine Cake, 49, a Gainesville resident and an organizer of the event, joined Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America two months after the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting because she wanted to make a change firsthand.
Cake spoke in favor of background checks for every gun sale and red flag laws as solutions. A red flag law allows for the temporary removal of firearms from an individual if they seem to be a danger to themselves or others.
“We are so fortunate in Gainesville [to have] a community full of caring, intentional people that focus that intention through advocacy,” Cake said. “ Our purpose is to work together to decrease gun violence and increase public safety across our nation.”
Tyra “Tyloudd” Edwards, a 49-year-old speaker and attendee, said African-American neighborhoods are more prone to gun violence. The Gainesville resident said stricter background checks and red flag laws would be a dream come true for the black community.
“It’s not just schools and churches and clubs,” she said. “This is about streets and corners and neighborhoods also. That’s why I’m here today.”
Dave Young, 63, and Aileen Young, 65, brought signs to the rally that read, “How hard can it be?” and “Common sense gun legislation.” The Gainesville couple said their grandchildren, who are 6 and 10 years old, had to learn procedures of what to do in a possible school shooting situation.
“I think it’s important to put some pressure on legislators,” Dave said. “There are too many guns in this country. I understand the Second Amendment, but I think we’ve taken it to an extreme.”
Several protestors stand holding signs Saturday afternoon during the Recess Rally. Many of the activists wore targets on their backs blaming the NRA and lawmakers for recent gun deaths in the United States.
Paul Salvatore speaks to an audience of about 150 people Saturday afternoon. Several speakers talked about the importance of gun safety and legislation.