Press Releases

June 16, 2012

Rev. Jesse Jackson leads Chicago Protest Against Gun Violence at Chuck’s Gun Store

After marching with community members to protest rising gun violence at Chuck’s Gun Store, Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition is calling on Congress to: increase the criminal penalties for illegal straw purchases; enact a dedicated firearms trafficking statute; expand the implementation of multiple long gun sale reporting requirements; and revive the ban on assault weapons.

“Each year, across the country, about 7,000 African Americans are murdered, more than nine times out of 10 by other African Americans,” said Rev. Jackson. “Far more African Americans are killed on our streets than on foreign battlefields. If a foreign foe took these lives, we would mobilize armies and armadas to stop them. But here, because much of this violence is contained in racially concentrated neighborhoods, there is too much resignation and too little outrage.”

Police say that in the last 10 years, Chuck’s Gun Store, located just outside the city limits, has sold more than 3,500 guns that were recovered in crimes—including three used to kill police officers.

Also marching with Rev. Jackson were the family members of U.S. Coast Guard member Malcom “EmDee” Dowdy, who was shot and killed on Memorial Day and Father Michael Pfleger, Pastor of St. Sabina's Parish

"This is not just a rally or just a march," said Fr. Pfleger. "This is a gathering of people who are making a decision that they will be peace-makers in the city of Chicago.”

“There are too many senseless killings and we have to fight back,” said Denise Dixon, Dowdy’s mother-in-law. “Malcolm was not running the streets or someone who didn’t care about his community. He was a father, he was employed, he was a union member.”

Malcolm died over Memorial Day weekend where the city of Chicago saw more than 40 shootings and 10 homicides in a four-day time span.

"We need a mayor that's going to say enough is enough,” said Dixon. "We need somebody that's going to take care of the community like they took care of the dignitaries and the foreigners that came here for NATO."

According to the Chicago Tribune Red Eye data, homicides are up in Chicago by 44 percent from January 1, 2012 to May 31, 2012 and 223 homicides were reported during the period of January 1, 2012 to June 11, 2012.

“We know the roots of this violence,” said Rev. Jackson. “The poor are crowded into desperate neighborhoods. Joblessness produces despair, depression and hopelessness. Drugs and guns spread in the underground economy. Gangs start warring on mean streets. The young go to the poorest schools. They are more likely to be suspended, less likely to graduate. They face the worst job market since the Great Depression.”

Why March Against Gun Violence:

To stem of the flow of guns the Rainbow PUSH Coalition has suggested the following:

Congress should increase the criminal penalties for illegal straw purchases.

A straw purchase is an illegal firearm purchase where the actual buyer of the gun, being unable to pass the required federal background check or desiring to not have his or her name associated with the transaction, uses a proxy buyer who can pass the required background check to purchase the firearm for him/her.

Congress should enact a dedicated firearms trafficking statute.

We need to implement a common sense comprehensive policy to help law enforcement prevent gun trafficking. We can pass effective laws that make sense: requiring Brady criminal background checks on all gun sales, not just those of licensed dealers; banning military-style assault weapons with high capacity magazines; limiting the number of handguns that can be bought at one time; and, giving law enforcement new legal authority to crack down on corrupt gun dealers.

ATF should expand the implementation of multiple long gun sale reporting requirements.

The Obama administration implemented its most aggressive and controversial gun measure to date when it ordered dealers in four Southwestern states to report multiple sales of semiautomatic rifles to the federal firearms bureau. It requires about 8,500 dealers operating in the border states of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas to alert authorities when a person buys within five days two or more semiautomatic rifles greater than .22-caliber with detachable magazines.

Congress should revive the ban on assault weapons.

Due to the power of the gun lobby — led by the National Rifle Association — our gun laws are becoming weaker, not stronger. More Americans now own a gun on their property than any time since 1993, and for the first time, a majority of Americans are against a ban on assault rifles and semiautomatics. Few politicians want to touch the issue.

The Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a progressive organization devoted to protecting, defending and expanding civil rights to improve economic and educational opportunity. The organization is headquartered at 930 E. 50th St. in Chicago. To learn more, please visit http://www.rainbowpush.org or call (773) 373-3366. To arrange an interview with Rev. Jackson, please call the numbers listed above.