Group rallies to remember victims of gun violence

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Love them or hate them, guns are a hot topic right now.

"Gun violence in America has reached the stage of carnage - and people just accept it. And it's time we tried to do something," said William Zacchi, who attended the rally.

The group released more than 2,000 rose petals into the river to honor those killed by guns since Sandy Hook - 59 were from Tennessee, including Marcia Crider, who was pregnant when she was shot and killed earlier this month. Police are still looking for the suspected shooter, Brandon Donaldson.

The demonstrators are calling for stricter laws to prevent gun crimes.

"One of the things we'd love to do is close the loopholes at gun shows - where the universal background checks are a lot tighter. So that's one of our big pushes," said June Jones, who organized the rally.

Right now, private sales and transactions at gun shows don't require background checks. The group also wants to ban semi-automatic assault weapons and limit the number of rounds in gun magazines.

"We need to be sensible enough to limit firepower on weapons that are intended to kill people," said Joan Nelson, who attended the rally.

Some say banning semi-automatic weapons and limiting magazine capacities won't solve the problem. Chris Bayless owns B&B Firearms in Knoxville. He said criminals will still find ways to get weapons.

"Basically, if you work on the mental health part of it, that would mean more because the magazines aren't going to stop it. Criminals are still going to get them, they're still going to have the high capacity magazines and you won't have any defense," said Bayless.

The ralliers agree. They said increasing access to mental health care could help.

US Senator Bob Corker said he doesn't think there will be a bill banning certain weapons. He said legislators will likely focus on background checks and access to mental health services.

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