Nicole Hughes doesn’t consider herself to be very political, but when she heard about the shooting in Las Vegas that killed at least 58 people, she says she felt she had to take action. Her need to “do something” led the mother of two to organize a march for gun control, which a small crowd participated in on Saturday morning.
When she first heard about what happened in Las Vegas, Hughes said she felt sick, distraught, and hopeless. She thought about moving her family to another country even, but that would be cowardly, she said. Instead, she’s going to try to help make change, she said.
“At least I can say that I tried to make a difference for my kids,” she said.
“There’s really no other way to honor victims of gun violence,” Hughes said. With that sentiment in mind, the group met with their signs held high at Napa’s Veterans Memorial Park and walked from Main Street to Soscol Avenue and back chanting phrases like “gun safety now.”
Along the way, they were met with a few car horns of support as well as a teenager on a skateboard who said, “We already have gun control.” A man approached the group handing out copies of the constitution before quickly leaving the scene.
When the group returned to the park, Hughes asked via her megaphone if anyone wanted to say anything.
“It’s more than just marching,” offered one woman. “You have to be willing to put yourself out there. Sometimes it’s not easy.”
Hughes expressed being uncomfortable in the role of organizer, but felt strongly that she had to make some sort of public statement.
“I’m so tired of doing nothing,” she said.
Admittedly, she said, there may have been a better turnout if she had advertised the event as a march to end gun violence. She doesn’t have a problem with private citizens owning firearms, she said, but doesn’t think there is any reason for them to own weapons like assault rifles.
“Control does not mean elimination,” Mara Adelman of Napa said at the march. Adelman described Hughes’ event as a “drop of water,” but, she said, it’s better than sitting at home doing nothing.
The Bay Area has always been the epicenter for protest but it doesn’t mean that people here aren’t being heard, she said. Adelman said that she hopes that the government will start banning assault rifles and other “weapons of mass destruction.”
“You don’t need that for shooting a deer,” she said.
Although she hopes for change, Adelman thinks that if the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which occurred in 2012 in Connecticut and killed 26 people – mostly students, didn’t cause change, that the shooting in Las Vegas won’t either.
“Enough is enough,” she said. “This is not a political issue, this is a health issue.”