Chicagoans take anti-violence push to the streets

June 28, 2008 4:11:16 PM PDT
The push to curb gun violence in Chicago took to the streets again this weekend.The effort comes in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision to strike down a law prohibiting handguns in Washington, DC, a move that critics say could put more guns in the hands of criminals.

Chicago's top cop, Supt. Jody Weis, joined people rallying to stop the violence in the city.

A number of groups were decrying the past week's ruling by the Supreme Court, but many in the crowd made it clear that to really clean up Chicago's violence issues, a change of heart has to happen in those who choose to use guns illegally in the first place.

Saturday, Weis told residents participating in a CAPS rally and march that they had to power to beat back the wave of gang and gun violence infecting their neighborhoods. And with the Chicago Police Department seizing thousands of guns each year, Weis says Chicago's gun ban is working despite what some anti-gun control advocates would say.

Once again another Chicago neighborhood stood up in hopes of saving their children from the gun violence that has now begun to plague their streets.

"This is a community of homegrown terrorists. They give us the weapons of mass destruction not by true weapons, but by genocide of the generation that is coming up," said neighborhood resident Angela Hungle.

Hungle is just one of the many neighborhood residents who joined city and religious leaders for Saturday's CAPS march meant to send a message of peaceful community policing throughout the neighborhood recently victimized by gun violence.

Before leading Saturday morning's procession, Mayor Richard Daley blasted Thursday's United States Supreme Court ruling striking down Washington, DC's gun ban, warning more innocent lives could be lost.

" Why is the gun industry is making so much money off the deaths and injuries of kids in America," the mayor said.

While critics simply say any ban is unfair to legal gun owners, gun control advocates say if Chicago's ban is overturned it will almost immediately put more guns into the hands of criminals.

Ceasefire Executive Director Tio Hardiman says while he's disappointed by the supreme court decision, he warns the public has to remember guns don't kill people by themselves.

"The root problem is economics, it's poverty, dysfunctional communities, the lack of poor education; these guys need a lot of help," Hardiman said.

That is a sentiment echoed by Candace Abraham, who lost her husband Horatio to gun violence almost two years ago and hopes the killing will stop.

"When a person takes a person' life, they don't just take that person's life, they also take the whole family, the whole community, and that's pretty much what happened," she said.

The Chicago Police Department says if the city's gun ban is reversed, it could make officers' work more dangerous.

A spokesperson says officers responding to calls, domestic and otherwise, could find themselves confronted with armed residents, or officers could be mistaken as criminals by frightened homeowners.


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