College kids help fight city's gun violence

March 17, 2009 4:16:16 AM PDT
Dozens of college students from the East Coast are taking a stand to try to stop the violence in Chicago. Students from Howard and Princeton Universities are spending their spring break in Illinois.

It was nearly three years ago when Willie Williams III was shot and killed outside the Ford City Mall movie theater. But the pain is still fresh for his father. He is now dedicated to make it more difficult for kids to get hold of guns.

"We as families and parents, we think that it can slow up the flow of guns getting to the streets," said Willie Williams Jr., victim's father.

Williams is one of several parents of children killed by gun violence who spoke at St. Sabina Church on Monday night. In the audience were dozens of college students on spring break from Howard and Princeton. They have skipped the typical spring break parties and instead are in Chicago for the week to work for gun control legislation.

"I got upset all over again. I think it's important for things that make you uncomfortable, things like that. I started wondering why more people aren't uncomfortable," said LaShondra Booker, Howard University senior.

The event was organized by St. Sabina pastor, Fr. Michael Pfleger, one of the city's leading voices for gun control. Some of the students spend part of the day calling state lawmakers to lobby them in favor of a bill putting new restrictions on some private sales of guns.

"I want to commend the students because it shows their compassion and commitment and I believe that they are the best representatives of what an educated democratic society is," said State Sen. Jacqueline Collins, (D) Chicago.

The bill has the support of a number of House members but there is plenty of opposition as well. A group of gun owners went to Springfield last week to lobby.

The Illinois National Rifle Association says there are already laws to track legal gun sales.