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Vigil held in Eau Claire for victims of gun violence

Eau Claire (WQOW) – Wednesday night people remembered loved ones lost to gun violence and promoted new legislation they hope would create fewer victims. That includes family of the local woman killed by a stranger in Chippewa County last month.

The candlelight vigil was at Phoenix Park. Citizen Action, the organizers of the event, brought Rep. Jodi Emerson, school board president Eric Torres and local victims of gun violence to talk about why they believe universal background checks are so necessary.

Stephanie Vang is Laile Vang’s cousin. Laile was shot and killed in her Lake Hallie home exactly one month ago by a Ritchie German Jr., a man she didn’t even know. German also shot her parents, who each lost an arm. Stephanie said the shooting has forever changed her family’s lives, and there needs to be a change in not only the legislature, but the community’s attitude toward gun violence. “The community has been so supportive,” said Stephanie Vang. “The outpour of love and support that you guys have given us shows that we can come together and unite as a community and do better. But why do we have to wait until a tragedy happens to do it?”

Vang said she doesn’t hate guns, but believes background and mental health checks can help prevent future tragedies.

About two weeks ago, state Democrats including Emerson and Gov. Evers introduced a plan to have universal background checks in Wisconsin. The governor has also said he supports red flag laws which create a court process to temporarily remove someone’s guns if they have been deemed a danger to themselves or others.

State Republicans have not been supportive of these proposals, saying it’s unlikely they would get a floor vote.

Mary Pautsch

Mary came to News 18 in July 2019 from Sioux City, Iowa where she graduated from Morningside College with a BA in Spanish after attending Iowa State University for 3 years.

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