Group leads rally for gun control

March 18, 2009 5:07:00 PM PDT
A group of students, parents and community activists were in Springfield to lobby for gun control laws.The calls are growing louder in Chicago to stop the violence.

On Tuesday, there were 11 shootings, two of them fatal.

So far this school year 29 Chicago Public School students have been killed.

On Wednesday night, there is a community march against violence in the neighborhood where the most recent student was killed.

The great gun control debate is taking center stage in Springfield once again.

On one side, Fr. Michael Pfleger led a rally on the steps of the state capitol on Wednesday.

Pfleger arrived with busloads of activists and students who left on Wednesday morning from Simeon High.

Gregory Robinson's basketball teammates were moved to action after he was gunned down last Friday.

"We demand that House Bill 48 is passed in memory of our slain student Gregory Robinson," said Ronnie Mosley, Simeon High student.

On the other side were gun control opponents, who say House Bill 48 will only cause more red tape and won't stop inner city killing.

"It's like a band-aid on a sword wound," said Dan Mastrianni, gun shop owner.

House Bill 48 aims to close the so-called private sale loophole.

As it stands now, people buying handguns from private sellers at gun shows don't have to undergo a background check.

If the bill passes, they'd have to come to a licensed dealer, like Illinois Gun Works in Elmwood Park, and fill out a 4473, the form for an instant background check.

Dan Mastrianni, who owns Gun Works, says he's not against it because it would mean more revenue for him. But he doesn't think it will stop anyone in the city from finding or using a gun.

"It's a sad commentary on the city itself because you'd think by now besides another law, they could find something they could do with all these people who have nothing to do," said Mastrianni.

But don't tell that to parents like Ron Holt, whose son, Blair, was killed on a CTA bus nearly two years ago, or Elaine Chavous, whose son was shot 17 years ago in a drive-by and remains in a wheelchair today.

"Because I don't want to see it happen to someone else's child. If I can prevent that from happening, that's my motive and main reason for being on this bus," said Elaine Chavous, shooting victim's mother.