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Sandy Hook Ride on Washington cyclists stop in First State

Karl Malgiero/Delaware Public Media

26 cyclists taking part in the Sandy Hook Ride on Washington made a planned detour into Hockessin Monday.

Delaware is just one of 14 stops on their four-day 400 mile journey to the nation’s capital that began Saturday. Tuesday, they’ll gather on the steps of the US Capitol in remembrance of all victims of gun violence - and advocate for what they call sensible gun violence prevention legislation.

The group supports background checks on all gun sales, a 10-round limit on ammunition magazines, toughening penalties on gun trafficking and straw purchases and providing temporary restraining order protection for domestic violence cases. 

Attorney Monte Frank is a Newtown, Connecticut, resident and the leader and founder of the group of top amateur and master cyclists from around the northeast known as Team 26.

“With each pedal stroke we are building bridges between communities," Frank said. "While the communities may be different, losing a child is losing a child. And as we all come together and lock arms and call for change, I think people are going to listen.”

This is the third annual ride for Frank and his team – a group of professional and top amateur and master cyclists from around the northeast -  but it’s the Ride’s first time stopping in Delaware.

sandy hook 2015
Credit Karl Malgiero/Delaware Public Media
Team 26 leader and founder Monte Frank (left) presents the Del. Coalition Against Gun Violence with a commemorative map of the 2015 route.

George Higgins - acting director of the Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence - saw the team on last year’s ride at their stop in Oxford, Pennsylvania.

After relating stories of Delaware’s recent gun violence,   Higgins persuaded the leaders to alter their course and make the First State a part of their journey.

“Whether it’s in a five minute time frame at one school or whether it’s over a period of a year in a city, the families are affected in the same way," said Higgins. "They heard that and decided that they would modify their route and come down through Delaware.”

Higgins said events like Monday’s present an opportunity for like-minded advocates to connect and work together to accomplish their goals - and to get a clear message to the public.

"This is not about guns," added Higgins. "If anything, it's about the irresponsible behavior of people who have access to guns."