San Diegans Gather for ‘Wear Orange Campaign' to Raise Awareness of Gun Violence

Demonstrators marched at the Waterfront, demanding action be taken to reduce the violence

San Diego County Waterfront Park was doused in orange on Thursday for the Wear Orange Walk to commemorate National Gun Violence Awareness Day.

"Blaze orange"-- what hunters often wear in the woods-- is fast becoming the recognized color of those advocating an end to gun violence.

The idea for the color was inspired by Nza-Ari Khepra, a high school student in Chicago who had encouraged her friends to wear orange in honor of classmate Hadiya Pendleton's death. Pendleton was shot and killed just one week after performing in President Obama's second inauguration.

Seventy-five people, some directly affected by gun violence, and others angry over mass killings reported nationwide, marched around Waterfront Park.

They demanded action be taken to reduce the violence.

What should be done though is at the center of great debate.

The message from demonstrators seemed clear and in one voice, but the solution to stopping gun violence is not as obvious.

Christine Evans' son Brandon Lee Evans was robbed, shot, and killed in Golden Gate park eight years ago. She wants guns out of the hands of criminals.

“It's hard for me to go on. I look at life different. I hold on to my other two children close to me,” Evans said.

Will Barton is confined to a wheelchair after being shot three times in the head and neck by a convicted felon who thought he was someone else.

“It is the mental health care and the focus on the mental health care of the person that is acting out in his life and being violent,” Barton said.

Congressman Scott Peters, from district 52, was sad to report no significant gun legislation passed during his tenure. Congressman Peters says requiring background checks for buyers at gun shows and online is an easy fix.

“That is a wide open loophole. 90 percent of Americans think closing that loophole would be a smart thing. 80 some percent of gun owners agree,” he said.

Several streets away from the demonstration, NBC 7 met with a second generation gunsmith, firearms dealer, and marksman John Rippo.

“Teaching people to be functional with it, I think that is a better American solution,” Rippo said.

Rippo is a second amendment advocate who says the solution requires a cultural change, not a change in the law.

“We don't need to make movies that glorify gun violence. We don't need to make movies and video games that glorify death and killing,” Rippo said.

NBC 7

June 2 is recognized as gun violence awareness day nation-wide.

But rally organizers want gun violence awareness in conversations every day.

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense is the group that organized Thursday's demonstration.

Members point out they are not against gun owners but are advocates for safety measures that better protect the public.

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