Advocates for stricter gun laws rally in Rockville

ROCKVILLE, Md. —  The recent news of mass shootings has motivated dozens of people to leave their warm homes Sunday for a chilly sunset rally in Rockville to promote an end to gun violence.

Members of a gun rights group showed up to counter a rally for stricter gun laws on Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015 in Rockville, Md. The group says they were ready to were hoping to dispel myths. (WTOP/Dick Uliano via Twitter)
Members of a gun rights group showed up to counter a rally for stricter gun laws on Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015 in Rockville, Md. The group says they were ready to were hoping to dispel myths. (WTOP/Dick Uliano via Twitter)

“When it comes to gun violence too many people want to just look the other way,” said U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat who represents portions of Montgomery, Frederick and Carroll counties.

Van Hollen, who is running for U.S. Senate, is in favor of a law that would require Americans to acquire a permit akin to a driver’s license before they could purchase a gun.

The Montgomery County chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence organized the event. One of the rally’s speakers was Cathy Mitchell, whose son was shot to death in D.C. by a 22-year-old man who had been arrested numerous times for illegal possession of a firearm.

“How can we not have gun registration? How can we not? There’s no reason,” Mitchell said during the rally.

Members of a gun rights group also turned out at the event. They said they were ready to answer any questions to dispel myths.

“Homicides by firearms have been going down consistently since 1994, since the FBI began keeping stats,” said Dan Blasberg, of College Park, Maryland. Blasberg is president of the group Maryland Shall Issue.

But rally goers say universal background checks and other new laws could help curb gun violence.

“The problem is the prevalence of guns and the easy access to guns that makes all these killings so hard to take,” said Mindy Landau, of Potomac, Maryland. Landau is with the Montgomery County chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

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