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July 23, 2014

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Las Vegas rally helps kick off nationwide effort to change gun laws

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Brian Nordli

State Sen. Pat Spearman, D-North Las Vegas, talks about her two brothers who were shot and killed trying to break up a fight. Her comments came during an Everytown For Gun Safety rally at the Grant Sawyer State Office Building on Wednesday, April 16, 2014.

Tehran Boldon held up a picture of his brother as he listened to the speakers’ pleas for comprehensive gun background checks.

He knew too well the kind of impact the wrong person with a gun could have. Last year his brother, Michael Boldon, was killed after Ammar Harris allegedly shot a driver on the Strip, causing the driver to crash into his brother’s taxi.

This week Tehran Boldon and his brother were supposed to be at the Grand Prix for their annual trip. Instead, Tehran Boldon is outside the Grant Sawyer State Office Building, holding his brother’s photo for the Everytown For Gun Safety launch.

“Anybody can be affected by gun violence,” Tehran Boldon said. “No matter who you are or what you do.”

About 40 people attended the event Wednesday wearing “I’m a gun sense voter” shirts passed out for the event and displaying signs advocating for more gun-control laws.

“Save our children from gun violence,” read one. “We will stop gun violence,” said another.

Las Vegas was one of 10 cities in the country with an Everytown event to kick off a campaign to lobby mayors, governors and legislators to pass laws for comprehensive background checks for people purchasing firearms. Everytown for Gun Safety is a national gun violence prevention organization with more than 1.5 million supporters.

Erica Lafferty, who is the daughter of Sandy Hook shooting victim Principal Dawn Hochsprung, spoke at the event with three Las Vegas gun-law reform advocates, and State Sen. Pat Spearman.

Each speaker touched on the need for more gun control. Spearman spoke about her two brothers shot and killed trying to break up a fight. Lafferty spoke about her mom and the growing club of people who know the pain and suffering that comes with losing someone to gun violence.

“Every day people wonder when tragedy will come to their community,” Lafferty said. “More needs to be done to end gun violence.”

They called out Congress for failing to pass gun-reform legislation that had a majority support and rallied the crowd to push back against pro-gun lobbyists in Washington. While Spearman acknowledged it would be a tough fight, she said their efforts would prevail.

“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of fight in the dog,” Spearman said. “And it’s the size of fight in the dog here.”

Still, they were careful to explain that they did not support taking away a person’s Second Amendment right to own a firearm. Instead, they called for background checks to help keep guns out of the hands of criminals, domestic abusers and others who could do harm with a firearm.

Linda Cavazos, who spoke at the event and is an ambassador for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, said she hoped the kick off would expand awareness about gun violence in America.

“People here like their guns,” Cavazos said. “But with increased education and awareness, we’re seeing more gun owners coming to our events.”

After the event Boldon pocketed the picture of his brother. He knows it will still be a battle for comprehensive background checks for gun owners, but something needs to be done, if only to prevent more people from the same fate as befell his brother.

“It’s time we got together and did something about it,” Boldon said. “It’s time we stood up to the gun lobby.”

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