Vigil held in Durham after 2 weekend mass shootings leave 29 slain victims

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Sunday, Aaron Wolff spoke out against gun violence. 

“It’s not an option to be silent anymore,” Wolff said. 

This comes 12 years after he survived the mass shooting at Virginia Tech.

“We didn’t know what was happening. Our families didn’t know what was happening,” he said. “It was scary. It was confusing.” 

Since then, he said it’s been mentally frustrating. 

“You go through something like we went through, and you’d think that that would be all it took to have action,” Wolff said. “The fact that we are now 12 years from that, and nothing has changed. In fact, it’s only gotten worse, it’s just immensely frustrating and disheartening.”

Dozens at the vigil organized by student activists with March For Our Lives Durham remembered victims of gun violence, and called for change after the most recent mass shootings in Texas and Ohio. 

“I’m going back to school shopping in a few weeks too, and now, I have to have that fear if somebody’s going to come into that store and shoot it up,” Laura McDow with March For Our Lives Durham said. 

Denise Zavaleta and her son, Jack, believe change is key. 

“I feel very mad this could even happen,” Jack Zavaleta said. “We shouldn’t even have to be here.”

“Children shouldn’t grow up in a society where they’re afraid to go to the grocery store, where they’re afraid to go to Walmart, or the movies, or the church, or to a concert,” Denise Zavaleta said. 

People at the vigil said they support change, including universal background checks. 

“Please help us keep pushing,” State Sen. Mike Woodard said. 

Overall, people hope it prompts action from elected leaders. 

Members with March For Our Lives Durham told CBS 17 there’s a bill in the U.S. Senate. that if passed, would create new background check requirements for firearm transfers between private parties. For more information on the bill, click here.

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