The Herald Bulletin

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July 19, 2013

Aurora victims honored; gun groups stage protest

(Continued)

AURORA, Colo. —

Gun rights organizers said they sympathized with the victims but didn't see new gun control laws as a solution.

"We want the families of the victims to know that we are sorry for their loss," said Alicia Perez, a Colorado organizer with Gun Rights Across America.

For his part, Stephen Barton, who was wounded in Aurora, said, "You shouldn't wait until it affects you to start caring about it."

"I never thought I would ever be affected by gun violence personally," Barton added.

Mayors Against Illegal Guns said participants were reading the names of about 2,500 people who have been killed by gunfire since Dec. 14, when a gunman killed 20 first-graders and six adults at Sandy Hook.

The Aurora vigil came almost a year to the day after 12 people were killed and 70 others were wounded, some paralyzed, in a July 20 attack at a midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises."

The victims' names were being read until 12:38 a.m. Saturday, the moment that the shootings began in the theater last year.

The theater planned no midnight showings on July 20 this year. Seven police officers were in the theater lobby Friday afternoon, and another was outside near an exit.

Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila, accompanied by more than 20 white-robed priests, led a memorial Mass for the theater victims Friday night at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in Aurora.

"Sin, violence and evil does not have the final word," he said in his homily.

Names of those killed alternated on video screens outside the sanctuary.

Remembrance events planned for Saturday included an early morning memorial service and a host of volunteer civic works, music, arts and even meditation. Aurora officials say they wanted to promote healing.

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