Rally turns contentious in Old Town

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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.


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