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Local Students Hold Vigil For Sandy Hook As Gun Control Debate Intensifies

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Lauren-Pastrana-600x450 Lauren Pastrana
Lauren Pastrana joined CBS Miami in April 2012 as a reporter. Sh...
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South Florida Crime

SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE (CBS4) – Students at Robert Morgan Educational Center held a candlelight vigil Wednesday in honor of the victims of the mass school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

The two seniors who planned the tribute read the names of the victims one-by-one. A bell tolled after each name was said.

“It’s an emotional experience and we wanted to do something to show our respect for what they are going through,” Melissa Llerena said.

Llerena coordinated the event that included music, candles, and photos of the 20 children and six adults killed in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary school Friday.

“My heart goes out to all the families,” Alexandra Murray explained. “The devastation must be unbearable. I can’t imagine my parents going through that.”

Parents embraced their children as some shed tears.

One girl held up a sign that read, “Although it’s difficult today to see beyond the sorrow, may looking back in memory help comfort you tomorrow.”

Students discussed their emotions and security at the Southwest Miami-Dade school in the wake of the shooting, but there was no talk of gun control

On Wednesday, President Obama announced the creation of a task force to reduce gun violence. He tapped Vice President Joe Biden to lead the group. Mr. Obama called on Congress to ban assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines.

“I will use all the powers of this of this office to help advance efforts aimed at preventing more tragedies like this,” the President said.

The National Rifle Association issued a statement this week that said it was, “shocked, saddened and heartbroken by the news of the horrific and senseless murders in Newtown.”

Since the shooting, DICK’S Sporting Goods has stopped selling some guns.

“Out of respect for the victims and their families,” a statement from DICK’S said, “during this time of national mourning we have removed all guns from sale and from display in our store nearest to Newtown and suspended the sale of modern sporting rifles in all of our stores chainwide.”

But elsewhere, the gun business is brisk.

At one Hollywood store, the owner told CBS 4 News sales have jumped 50%.

On Tuesday, Florida surpassed the one-million mark for concealed weapons permits.

Four out of every five licensees are male, but with a growing interest among females,” according to a statement from Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam’s office. “Nearly one-third of licensees are between ages 51 and 65.”

When asked about gun control Wednesday, Governor Rick Scott was vague.

“We’re going to have a conversation on gun control and mental illness,” Gov. Scott said. “So what I want to do is listen to the 19 million Floridians in our state and get their ideas.”

The NRA is holding a major news conference Friday. It said it will introduce meaningful contributions to keep something like this tragedy from happening again.

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