Political group hosts vigil, seeking gun-control reform

By Laura Shrake | @KyKernel

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A small crowd gathered Friday night at the Robert F. Stephens Courthouse Complex in downtown Lexington to remember gun violence victims from around the country.

The vigil, put on by Organizing for Action’s Keidra King, also sought to plan for the reform of gun-control laws and to continue the fight against loosening regulation.

“This is a public health crisis,” the Rev. Nancy J. Kemper said as she addressed the crowd. “It’s an absolute epidemic.”

As candles glowed in the crowd, several speakers discussed what should be done about gun laws that they said seem to be getting looser.

In agreement with President Barack Obama’s plans for gun control, Kemper emphasized registering every gun in America, requiring universal background checks, limiting the sale of high-capacity magazines and halting the sale of guns intended for war.

In the generally conservative state of Kentucky, both senators, Mitch McConnell, the minority leader, and Rand Paul, oppose legislation that would strengthen gun laws.

“We have created this culture of fear,” Kemper said. “Seeing someone carrying a gun creates this feeling of helplessness. And that’s not who we are as Americans. We’re better people than that.”

Nia Community of Faith pastor Anthony Everett agreed with Kemper’s points, adding that we have a “deep obligation” to try to stop gun violence.

“We have this disconnect where there is almost no concern until it (the violence) becomes a national tragedy,” Everett said. “We focus on what happens in Aurora (Colo.) and Newtown (Conn.), but we’re not focusing on what’s happening in the west end of Lexington.”