Rally turns contentious in Old Town

Posted: Updated:
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

A vigil and rally by the group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, grew tense when a pro-gun supporter spoke up during a speech by Wichita City Councilwoman Lavonta Williams.

She and other who gathered said they were asking for stronger laws, that would still guarantee the right to bear arms, but would prevent guns from getting in the hands of criminals.

Nearly two-dozen gathered in Old Town Wednesday night, including the families impacted by gun violence.

"Instead of trying to find a solution to his problem, he took the easy way out," said Lisa Tos-Brightup, whose son, Michael Byington, committed suicide with a handgun nearly two years ago.

She said he had mental issues, and refused to take his medication when he became a teenager. She's convinced had he not had access to a gun, he'd still be alive today.

"If Michael had not found that gun lying around there's a very good chance he would be still be here," she said.

It's certainly not the first time they held a rally like this. They've had similar ones after recent mass shootings over the years. But Councilwoman Lavonta Williams said the discussion needs to be move forward until mass shootings stop.

"We don't want to take away anybody's right to bear arms," she said. "But I do want us to come up with some type of solution. Collective solution." 

But the passion on both sides was evident during a speech she gave to the crowd, when Tim, a supporter of relaxed gun laws, approached and started talking to her. 

The two spoke as others jeered at him, but eventually he left the crowd. He told KAKE News his belief was that criminals wouldn't adhere to stricter laws and that those moves would only put the public at larger risk.

"The gun laws is not helping anybody. It just makes those of us that are law-abiding harder to have them," he said.

Williams and others insisted they want a solution in the middle of both sides, hoping that the discussion would lead to a change.

Check out these photos from across KAKEland snapped by our viewers, staff and local officials. Do you have a photo to share with us? Email it to news@kake.com.

MORE SLIDESHOWS HERE

  • Most Popular Stories

    • Kansas woman sentenced to life for raping young girl

      A Kansas woman has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for at least 25 years for raping a 16-month-old girl. 

    • 2 Pitt State profs arrested amid illegal recording inquiry

      Two Pittsburg State University associate professors have been placed on paid leave amid an investigation into the illegal recording of a nude or partially clothed person. 

    • Man killed, 2 hurt in southwest Wichita shooting

      Police have identified a man who was shot to death in southwest Wichita early Saturday morning. 

    • Where is the snow?!

      Wichita residents on average will see the first snowfall on December 2 according to statistics kept by the National Weather Service but so far this year, maybe only a flurry has been seen.

    • US Supreme Court allows Kansas death sentence to stand

      The United States Supreme Court on Monday declined to review for a second time the case of Scott Cheever, allowing his capital murder conviction and death sentence to stand.

    • Shockers climb to No. 3 in AP basketball poll

      The Wichita State Shockers moved up to 3; KU dropped to 13.

    • Man killed in accident in Rush County

      One man is dead after an accident in Rush County Saturday morning. Alan Stiles was headed west on KS-4, just over six miles east of La Crosse when the vehicle drifted on to the shoulder.  

    • Girl has blunt message for Aetna after her brain surgery request was denied

      The 15-year-old tried to absorb the devastating news relayed by her parents: that their insurance company, Aetna, denied her for a minimally invasive brain surgery that could end the seizures that have haunted her since she was 9 years old. 

    • Pratt County deputies make big meth bust

      Pratt County Sheriff's deputy seized several pounds of drugs during a routine traffic stop Friday morning. 

    • Authorities identify woman found in Kansas lake

      Authorities have a woman whose body was found in a southeast Kansas lake on Thursday.