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Remembering those who died in Bloomington-Normal gunfire in 2021

Another mother's son died in gunfire a week ago in Bloomington-Normal, and a gun safety group is repeating its call for sensible safety measures to prevent gun violence.

The most recent death adds to the six people who died last year in the Twin Cities and the 15 wounded by gunfire who survived their injuries in 2021.

National Gun Violence Survivors Week is the first week of February. The timing, the group Mom's Demand Action for Gun Sense McLean County Chapter said, reflects the point in the year United States when gun violence typically surpasses the full-year volume of gun violence in other countries.

Dameca Kirkwood shared the story of her son Trevonte Kirkwood, shot dead in 2018 in Bloomington, during a vigil Sunday afternoon, on the steps of the Mclean County Museum of History, where she called for action.

"What resources do we need that we don't have? How can they be implemented? It hurts. I will never ever get to hear my baby talk to me again," said Kirkwood.

Mom's Demand Action promotes gun safety practices and legislation. Chapter Co-Leader Karen Irvin said during the event that the movement works for everyone's benefit.

"We want to securely store firearms away from children and away from people who should not have them. And we know that is something everybody can work on together," said Irvin.

The movement has supported Illinois measures like the Fix The FOID and the expansion of firearm restraining orders. Both bills are intended to make it more difficult for mentally unstable individuals to obtain firearms.

Irvin said this is the fourth year Mom's Demand Action has recognized National Gun Violence Survivors Week.

Jack Graue is a student reporter at WGLT. He joined WGLT in summer 2021. He is also a student in the School of Communication at Illinois State University.