Chicago students lobby for tougher gun laws

Three Chicago teens injured in separate shootings
April 8, 2008 3:10:02 PM PDT
In an effort to stop violence and secure more funding, CPS officials and students lobbied lawmakers in Springfield on Tuesday. Twenty-three Chicago public school students have been killed by violence since the first of the year. In an unprecedented move, the Chicago Board of Education and some students are- one school at a time- lobbying for gun control bills.

"Basically I'm stuck in a place where I watch my relatives die in front of me. There's nothing I could do about it," said Deandria Kelley, Chicago high school student.

Two students were killed blocks from student Angela Flores' home.

"Me, walking home personally, it is very, it is very disturbing knowing that anything can happen," said Flores.

The students met with state representatives from Chicago while in Springfield.

"We have to talk to our fellow Democrats and get them to help us save our kids and cities," said State Rep. Ken Dunkin, (D) Chicago.

The gun controls bills in Springfield would:

  • limit individual gun purchase to one a month
  • expand background checks on prospective gun buyers to include private transactions
  • and ban many of the assault weapons used gang related shootings.
  • "Up until now, the folks that are from the rural areas have been very suspicious of us, they think we want to take away their guns and they've been successful in killing any efforts we've tried to pass to regulate guns," said State Sen. John Cullerton, (D) Chicago.

    CPS officials and students are also asking for more school funding.

    "Both are issues. If we get school funding, some of it could be for programs like keeping kids off the streets, activities and if that happens, maybe violence will reduce. They go hand in hand," said Rene Howard-Paez, junior.

    "I believe with more school funding, we may be able to keep more kids off the street and allow students to do something more constructive with their lives," said Flores.

    "It is crazy, we- as a state- are 48 out of 50, in the money going to public education. It is crazy our students grow up with this level of fear. We have too many students talking about if I grow up, not when I grow up," said Arne Duncan, Chicago Public Schools CEO. "We have to challenge the status quo. We have to have the leadership in Springfield."

    Many of the students, who attend Jones College Prep, also participated in stop the violence rallies in Chicago.

    On Wednesday, anther group of students from Chicago will be in Springfield. They will be accompanied by activist Rev. Michael Pfleger.

    Organizations lobbying against the bills argue they are nothing more than an attempt to take guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens and leave them in the hands of gang members who don't follow the laws.

    Over the next two months, 20 schools from the Chicago Public School district will be sending groups of students to Springfield to talk to lawmakers.

    Three teens shot overnight

    As their classmates lobby in Springfield, three teens are recovering from wounds received in separate shootings overnight.

    In the Back of the Yards neighborhood Monday around 10:30 p.m., a 16-year-old girl was shot twice in the abdomen while walking home with a friend. Police say a car pulled up and someone inside the car started shooting at them.

    A 19-year-old was critically wounded in a shooting in the same neighborhood Monday night. Police say it was gang related.

    Monday night in the Lawndale neighborhood, a 15-year-old boy was caught in crossfire. He was grazed in the head.


    Load Comments