UF students, faculty hold vigil for Thousand Oaks victims

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GAINESVILLE, Fla., (WCJB) -- Sharing stories and calling for action -- students and faculty at the University of Florida gathered today for a vigil for the victims of the Thousand Oaks shooting.

Organizers say their goal is to pay respect to the lives lost...but they are also pushing for stricter gun control laws.

Students attending the vigil say they are deeply affected every time they hear of another shooting...some even plan to lobby in Tallahassee for stricter laws...this group of students says enough is enough.

"We don't want citizens of the United States to be constantly mourning because of of their family members was victim to such a tragedy," said Jovanna Liuzzo, a student and gun crontrol activist.

The vigil was held to honor those that lost their lives, but now, full of emotion, they want change.

"Regardless of the weapon, lives were taken unnecessarily do to ineffective gun laws," Liuzzo said. The student plans to take her organization, Students Demand Action, to Tallahassee to lobby for stricter laws.

"Definitely banning [weapon] accessories is the first step," she continued.

Despite what those at the vigil were saying, the owner of Pickett Weaponry doesn't believe that banning accessories is the answer, but more about enforcing the laws we already have.

"I would support any gun law that is effective," said Jack Pickett, owner of Pickett Weaponry in Newberry, "And we actually do have some effective gun laws on the books right now."

Pickett continued by referencing the recent change to a five day wait in Alachua County, mental health screenings, and background checks.

"The people have changed, not the guns," he said.

Pickett says a firmer hand on enforcing gun laws, and punishing those who mis-use guns should be of higher priority.

"I believe that every gun owner, every gun dealer, every gun enthusiast, will support any gun control measures that is effective. The problem is that there are so many measures out there that are completely ineffective. If you want effective gun control laws, ask someone who knows about firearms, ask a gun dealer," Pickett said.

Yet students are keeping their chins up.

"I am somehow feeling hopeful in the face of all of this tragedy," Liuzzo said.

Although they may not agree on gun control, both Pickett and Liuzzo are remorseful in the wake of the shooting.