As our country's lawmakers look at re-writing gun legislation, a rally held in Rockford this afternoon stirred up a lot of emotions on the subject.
Anti-gun violence activists gather in front of the Dick's Sporting Goods store in Rockford. Their message is to reduce the number of deaths caused by guns.
Armed with signs and a microphone, ralliers work to have their voices heard.
The group MoveOn.org organized the event. Jude Wrzesinski, a spokesperson for the group, helped organize the rally. "Most of the gun deaths that occur in Rockford are by handguns, and many of them are stolen handguns," she says. She wants stores like Dick's to stop selling guns altogether, and says this is the best way to get them off the street.
Residents who have personally felt the effect of gun violence share their messages at the rally too. "My grandson was gunned down about a block and a half from my house. and it devastated our family. There's too many loose guns out there," says anti-gun violence advocate Annie Davis.
But they are met with opposition. A group of local gun owners came to voice their opinion when they learned of the rally.
Kenny Polhamus say there are certain responsibilities that come with gun ownership. But he says that is not a reason to take them away. "I've owned thousands of guns over my lifetime and I've never killed anybody with one of them."
Another gun owner, David White, agrees, and says it comes down to rights. "The 2nd amendment was created so that we as Americans can take up our arms, protect ourselves against government, against somebody trying to take our property, against somebody trying to take out home."
The anti-gun violence group wants to see all guns, even those used for sport, kept locked up at a gun club at all times. But their opponents argue, the already keep their guns locked in safes at home.
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