Dozens of suburban activists rallied Sunday in Elgin to demand stricter gun control in honor of the 17 killed at a Florida high school shooting.
Participants stood at the corners of McLean Boulevard and College Green Drive holding signs opposing assault weapons and gun violence. Organizer Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, of the Fox Valley Voices for Democracy, handed out sheets of paper listing the 14 students and three staff members who were killed Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
The group rallied to remember the victims and to stand in solidarity with the survivors who are urging legislators to make policy changes, she said. "This has really struck a chord," Brumbaugh-Cayford said.
The crowd gathered near the site of a gun range and shop expected to open this spring at 780 S. McLean Boulevard, across the street from a preschool program and Easter Seals DuPage & Fox Valley, Brumbaugh-Cayford said. The Fox Valley Shooting Club was approved by the city council last May.
"It's not that this vigil is in opposition of the gun store, but as we organized this, we were thinking, 'Where in Elgin is the proximity of guns and children so evident?'" Brumbaugh-Cayford said.
Thousands of suburban high school students joined a national walkout last week in support of tighter gun measures. Many of their requests -- stricter background checks, raising the age limit for purchasing guns and banning assault weapons, among others -- were echoed by the groups participating Sunday.
"We cannot let our schools, or any large gathering of people, be turned into these killing zones. We have to take action," said Mary Ellen Barbezat, a retired teacher and a member of the American Association of Women.