Rally held to push for gun legislation reforms

Lauren Florence

About 30 people gathered outside Austin City Hall on Thursday to press for gun control regulation in response to the recent murder of two journalists in Virginia.

The Texas chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense held a “#WhateverItTakes” rally in response to an opinion column written by Andy Parker, the father of the Virginia WDBJ-TV reporter, Alison Parker, who was shot and killed while reporting live Aug. 26. Cameraman Adam Ward, who was filming Parker’s segment, was also killed. Andy Parker said he will do “whatever it takes to end gun violence” in the column published by the Washington Post.

“[W]e must focus our attention on the legislators who are responsible for America’s criminally weak gun laws; laws that facilitate the access dangerous individuals have to firearms on a daily basis,” Parker said in the column.

Nicole Gollis Golden, member of the Moms Demand Action Austin chapter, said the rally was part of a national day of action of about 50 Moms Demand Action chapters across the country.

The rallies were held to push officials to take action and “pass legislation to reduce the senseless gun violence,” according to a statement from Moms Demand Action.

“We’re calling on Congress to close loopholes on background checks and save lives,” Gollis Golden said.

The date of Sept. 10 marked 1,000 days since the shooting of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 and influenced Moms Demand Action’s decision to hold the rally that day.

“[The] Sandy Hook shooting was really the beginning of our movement and what really was the tip of the iceberg, and since then, we’ve grown and grown and seen more and more shootings that have retraumatized us as mothers and people,” Gollis Golden said.

Gollis Golden said her organization also worked during the last state legislative session to oppose campus carry. She said her group’s efforts led to the passage of an amendment allowing university presidents to designate “gun-free” areas on campuses.

Cristina Adams, member of Gun-Free UT, is a spouse of a UT faculty member and is the mother of a freshman UT student. Adams said Gun-Free UT has grown from about 70 people to 500 people in the past few weeks because the University community is upset by campus carry laws.

“I’m ashamed to send my child to UT — I wish he was going somewhere out of state,” Adams said.

Adams said Gun-Free UT is planning a rally on Sept. 30 from 12–1 p.m. at the West Mall.