A vigil was held in Hartford in honor of those who have lost their lives to gun violence, including the 20 children and six adults killed in Newtown five years ago.

It was an intimate gathering of people at Elizabeth Park on Saturday evening who in one way or another shared a common thread of being affected by gun violence.

Eyewitness News spoke with a Hartford mother who said her 20-year-old son was shot and killed five years ago, shortly before the Sandy Hook tragedy.

“I just wish there was a peace builder standing there on the day that Shane was shot,” said Janet Rice. “Just maybe he would still be here today.”

The loss of her son is one of the many senseless shootings that area hospitals, city, state, and federal groups are trying to prevent with a regional “Gun Buy Back” initiative in which unwanted, working firearms are collected and exchanged for gift cards.

“Sometimes people have guns they never use,” said Eliezer Mercaeo. “Unfortunately, properties get robbed.”

In Hartford, on Saturday afternoon, 68 firearms were collected, including three assault rifles, and one machine gun.

“That firearm will never ever be used again to hurt someone or harm someone,” said Hartford Police Sergeant Steven Austin.

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, and others who attended the vigil said they would like to see tougher gun laws.

“We have to stay committed to try and build safer communities and that includes common sense gun laws,” said Mayor Bronin.

The “Gun Buy Back” Initiative also took place in New Haven, in which City and police officials said they saw a record breaking number of firearms collected.

Copyright 2017 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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