Newtown Victims Remembered in Duluth

Updated: 12/14/2013 6:13 PM
Created: 12/14/2013 5:26 PM
By: Travis Dill

On the year anniversary of the Sandy Hook Shooting dozens gathered in Duluth to remember the 26 victims killed and push for gun control.

More than 30 people gathered at Myers-Wilkins Elementary to share the grief that touched the nation after the shooting in Newtown Connecticut last year. Many also pushed for gun control reform despite bills failing in Washington earlier this year.

Words could not describe the tragedy that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary so vigil attendees read the names of the victims. A bell rung out after name until the 20 children and six teachers were remembered.

“We have to keep remembering the victims or we are just go on thinking this is life, and it doesn't have to be that way,” Mary Streufert said.

Strufert works with the Protect MN/Brady Campaign because she lost her daughter to gun violence. She hopes this day of remembrance will reignite the gun control debate.

Streufert said background checks are not required for private gun sales and at gun shows. She wants that to change.

“It's just checking to see before the person buys a gun that they can handle the responsibility,” Streufert said.

But the U.S. Senate failed to pass a bill to expand background checks in April. The National Rifle Association released a statement shortly after writing, “Expanding background checks, at gun shows or elsewhere, will not reduce violent crime or keep our kids safe in their schools.”

But the shooting did impact those who work in schools.

“Anybody who works with children, and especially if you work in a school, it couldn't help but touch your heart with, 'What if this had been at our school?'” Kathy Bogen said.

Bogen directs after-school activities at Myers-Wilkins. She strives for the children to be inclusive and watch out for trouble classmates.

“And rather than leaving them out or gossiping about them or getting into a bullying mood teach them how to include and then how to go to an adult for help immediately,” Bogen said.

She said that is one step in preventing future tragedies even if gun laws remain unchanged. Bogen said hundreds of students take part in after-school activities at Myers-Wilkins.

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