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Gun violence survivors urge action on #WearOrangeDay

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Posted at 1:07 PM, Jun 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-03 17:23:32-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Amid mass shootings nationwide and a growing list of homicide victims in Lexington, advocates are calling for an end to gun violence.

That’s why they gathered outside the courthouse in downtown Lexington Friday morning. Deana Mullins with Moms Demand Action Lexington helped organize the event. She lost her son Sean Howard to gun violence in 2017.

“It makes me angry that we are continuing to have this issue,” she told LEX 18. “And it's almost five years since I've lost my son, and it seems to be growing.”

Other survivors joined her in wearing orange on National Gun Violence Awareness Day. Guns might spark political debate, but the issue is deeply personal for this group.

Speakers urged action on gun violence from both elected officials and community members. Many of them have lost children.

“You took a majestic soul when you took my son,” said Tiffany Clark. Her son Zion was shot and killed at 20 years old. Clark stood next to Wantrice Proctor, whose son Michael was 17 years old when he was shot and killed.

Other people at the rally are now living without parents, like Vanessa Smothers. Her mom, Alice Carter, was shot and killed at 82 years old. Nearly two years later, Smothers is still waiting for justice.

“We are trying our best to live our daily lives, but it's hard to know we had to bury our mother due to gun violence,” she said.

Some speakers at Friday’s event urged gun law reform, including universal background checks and red flag laws. But Mullins said the rally is not about taking guns away from responsible citizens.

“It’s about harmful people,” she said.

So far in 2022, 16 people have been shot and killed, according to Lexington Police data. Officers have also responded to nearly 50 shootings.