COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – There have been 57 homicides in Columbus so far this year, and the city is honoring those lives lost and calling for peace during Gun Violence Awareness Month.
Central Ohio residents and the Columbus City Council gathered at city hall Monday to call attention to gun violence and ask for change.
The lights outside Columbus City Hall are now orange for Gun Violence Awareness Month, but for many who gathered there Monday, they feel the effects of losing a loved one to gun violence every day, working year-round to make the city safer.
The demonstration comes when two pieces of Ohio legislation were front and center at the statehouse – Gov. Mike DeWine signed into law a bill reducing the amount of training needed for a school employee to carry a handgun, and the state’s law eliminating the need for a conceal carry license went into effect.
The sound of mock gunshots rang out at the demonstration, followed by the name and number held up by a child, all the way up to 22, marking the number of people under the age of 20 murdered in Columbus this year.
The representation by Mothers of Murdered Columbus Children is a call to action. Addisyn Renz, 13, and her best friend Gabbie Nugeness held up two of the numbers. Renz’s brother Caleb Day was shot and killed last year.
“I just think that it’s disgusting,” Addisyn Renz said. “It’s very disgusting and like my brother, he was 19 and he lost his.”
They said they hear discussions about violence among other teens and they do not want any more lives lost.
“It’s heartbreaking to me because, you never know, it could be anyone,” Nugeness aid.
The demonstration happened during a vigil with Columbus City Council, but for Renz, her mother, and many others in the room, it’s close to their heart all year long.
“Every morning, every second, you don’t ever stop thinking about the day you get the news your child was murdered,” said Bethany Renz, Addisyn’s mother.
Their message is guns are not the answer.
“Enough lives have been taken,” Bethany Renz said. “We really need to get it together, not just in Ohio, not just in Columbus, but in the whole entire world.”
Speakers at the demonstration are urging parents, children, and lawmakers to do more when it comes to making the community a safer place.