TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — People packed Tucson’s Armory Park in the intense heat to turn up the heat on lawmakers, pushing for stricter gun laws.
The rally was part of the ‘March For Our Lives’ movement across more than 400 cities nationwide on Saturday.
The recent string of mass shootings in the U.S. is especially painful for Kelley Ireland, who lost her son and a friend to gun violence.
“I mean they’re getting too many to count. So it has to stop,” she said.
“It has taken me 33 years to put my life back together after my son died. So I don’t wish that on anybody… I know those people are starting down the toughest road they’re ever gonna travel. And I just hate to see it.”
Fifteen-year-old J.J. Williams was the rally’s lead organizer.
“[Gun violence] hasn’t personally affected me, but it’s just really, I get really angry when I hear people talking about gun violence, like we need to protect their guns more than our kids,” he said.
Williams is too young to vote—but says the event’s goal is to rally those who can—not to a political party, but to lawmakers who support stricter gun laws.
The gunmen involved in the Buffalo and Uvalde mass shootings bought their guns legally at a gun store, according to authorities.
Still, many question how or if new laws will prevent more tragedy.
“I would say about 95 percent of the time, if somebody’s gonna use a firearm for a mal-intention, they’re gonna steal it,” John Petrush, of John’s Guns and Ammo, told KGUN this week.
For context, research from the National Institute of Justice says of known mass shooting cases studied, "77% of those who engaged in mass shootings purchased at least some of their guns legally."
The debate, the outrage and the calls for change are likely here to stay in Southern Arizona.
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