EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) Two weeks after the mass shooting at Wal-Mart on August 3, local community members demanded action from the government regarding gun control with an ‘El Paso Strong’ rally at Lincoln Park on Saturday.
Three political science college students from UTEP, Arizona State University and Trinity University, all originally from El Paso, coordinated the rally.
The students said their goal was to honor the 22 fallen victims by encouraging the youth to become more civically engaged.
“We’re just trying to bring unity back, obviously that never left El Paso but also just to let people know what’s available to them you know it’s really exciting to see the community coming together and supporting each other and also in support of young voices like ours,” organizer Victoria Perches said.
Other groups participated in the rally include Moms Demand Action.
“El Paso is in mourning right now we want all the thoughts and prayers but we also want some actions we want to be able to see something tangible happen,” Javier Paz said.
However, advocates for open carry also at the rally said guns are in their right for defense.
“There’s a lot of responsibility that goes into purchasing a firearm we ask the community and many already are so that they are more empowered to defend themselves and to prevent mass shooting in the future,” James Peinado, with Open Carry Texas, said.
The advocates for open carry argued guns are a responsibility for personal and public safety.
“Everyone has the right to defend themselves their property and to not be a victim, when you take away the guns, you allow them to be a victim,” Chris Yost said.
Those demanding gun reform are calling on congress to pass legislation including the inception of red flag laws, which are aimed at potentially dangerous gun owners, limitations to the number of guns one can purchase and apply stricter background checks.
“We hope the community and the nation is listening to El Paso because El Paso is going to do something,” Paz said.