A crowd gathered at the First Congregational Church in Old Lyme on Sunday afternoon to honor those lost in the Parkland, Florida shooting.
The church bell rang 28 times for the 14 students and 3 educators that lost their lives to a lone gunman who entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and opened fire last Wednesday.
The bell rang 11 more times for the lives lost in recent shootings around the country.
Attendees stood with their heads down and in a circle as the tolls resonated.
“Every time one of the bells rings. It feels excruciating but when it goes on and on, on and on,” said Senior Minister of the First Congregational Church in Old Lyme, Reverend Steve Jungkeit, as he addressed the crowd. “It feels interminable.”
“It brings back the shooting that happened in Connecticut with the children five years ago. Just felt it was important to come out,” said Lyme resident Jean Miner.
The topic of gun control and gun reform has been a hot button issue, particularly for the students whose high school fell victim to the shooting.
“It’s now, always is the right time to talk about it and we need to talk about gun control. We need to take it out of the hands of people who are dangerous people,” said Reverend Jungkeit.
The President of the Gun Rights Group of Connecticut, Citizen’s Defense League Scott Wilson told Eyewitness News that laws were broken.
“Our hearts go out to the families of these victims. While some politicians are calling for more laws that will do nothing, the public should be aware that numerous existing laws were broken in this mass murder, and more laws will not stop a deranged person from killing.”
The Reverend said this is the third bell ringing vigil he has held in a short time. The last he held was for the mass shooting in Las Vegas.
“The ringing of a church bell calls people to attention and calls them in a time of trouble. So, we gather every time when a moment like this occurs to say we’re in trouble right now.”
While many people that Channel 3 spoke with at the vigil said they do not want to attend another vigil, the Reverend doesn’t believe this will be the last one if lawmakers do not enforce tougher laws.
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