Annual Mother's Day march pushes for gun control
EUGENE, Ore. -- The Million Mom March is a national movement that advocates gun safety policies. Many locals say the tragic shooting at Thurston High School is behind why they march each Mother's Day.
Retired Thurston High School teacher Betsy Steffensen said her memories of the 1998 Thurston High shooting became her motivation to lead Lane County's chapter of the Million Mom March.
"We weren't aware of how to help solve his problem before it happened," Steffensen said of Kip Kinkle, the then 18-year-old responsible for killing his parents, two classmates and wounding 25 others in May of 1998.
Tired of slow response from the federal government, a group of mothers convened on the nation's capital in 2000 asking leaders to pass stricter legislation on gun ownership.
She said the Million Mom March group isn't asking to take guns off the streets, rather make gun owners more responsible and aware.
"We don't want the guns. We just want people to unload them and lock them up," said Steffensen.
Mayor Kitty Piercy attends the Eugene march each year, which is held symbolically on Mother's Day.
"Your rights end when you hurt other people," said Piercey, "We all have to find a way to do this the right way, the responsible way, and really stand up and make sure our children get the lives they deserve to have."