Residents wear orange for common sense gun laws

Their numbers were small but their bright orange shirts spoke loudly in front of Milford City Hall Saturday morning as residents rallied in support of common sense gun legislation.

About 30 members of Milford Speaks Out, Orange CT Indivisible, and the West Haven Progressive Action Network, gathered for Wear Orange Weekend, a national movement aimed at ending gun violence.

Milford Speaks Out was one of many Connecticut and national organizations taking part in the #WearOrange campaign, which was created to honor 15-year-old gun victim Hadiya Pendleton of Chicago. She was killed in 2013, and June 2 was her birthday. Organizers chose to include the color orange because it’s what hunters wear to protect themselves from gunfire.

Sarah Bromley, of Milford Speaks Out, was dismayed that someone stole signs as she was setting up for the Milford rally Saturday morning, but that didn’t deter her and the others from taking a stand against gun violence.

Bromley said the group is not challenging the Second Amendment but rather wants to see laws that keep guns out the hands of people who should not have them.

“I’m a mom and a teacher,” Bromley said. “I work with babies all day long and I have to think about how I’m going to save them if a shooter comes in. I shouldn’t have to worry about that. I should worry about nurturing children and caring for them. It’s just ridiculous that we, as smart as we are, as wonderful a country as we are, that we can’t keep each other safe, and that we can’t feel safe going outside.”

Cindy Boynton of Milford Speaks Out also said the people in front of City Hall Saturday were not questioning the right to bear arms, but just fighting for more common sense legislation.

“There is no reason for the average person to have assault weapons,” Boynton said.

Boynton is running for the 117th state representative seat, and she said that in knocking on doors she’s found that one of the primary concerns among parents is the safety of their children at school.

She said common sense legislation will have to make a difference.

“It’s got to. What else are we going to do,” she said.

The rallyers planned to walk to the fair taking place on the downtown green Saturday and ask others to sign #WearOrange pledge cards and urge people to register to vote. And downtown Milford merchants supporting National Gun Violence Awareness Day displayed orange signs in their windows.

In Connecticut, Gov. Dannel Malloy signed legislation last week banning bump stocks, a device that allows guns to fire like automatic weapons.

At the Milford rally Saturday, Tessa Marquis of Milford criticized legislators who had voted against the ban: “Bump stocks turn an assault rifle into a machine gun,” Marquis said. “That is why the death toll at the Las Vegas massacre was so high in such a short period of time.”

Wear Orange Weekend started on June 1 — National Gun Violence Awareness Day — where people all over the country showed their support for gun violence prevention. Events took place throughout the weekend. In Milford, local high school students and staff wore orange on Friday.

Mayor Ben Blake issued a proclamation June 2 that states that every day 91 Americans are killed by gun violence and the lives of countless others are injured, and Americans are 25 times more likely to be murdered with guns than people in other developed countries.

The proclamation states that the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens go hand in hand with keeping guns away from dangerous people, and concludes with, “We renew our commitment to reduce gun violence and pledge to do all we can to keep firearms out of the wrong hands and encourage responsible gun owners to help keep our children safe.”