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Thursday, Aug. 30, 2007 01:52 am

Sticking to their guns

Stronger laws sought

Untitled Document Despite Tuesday’s stifling 95-degree temperatures, protestors with the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence joined near the Municipal Center walkway and fountain to remember the lives of those lost in the Virginia Tech shooting and to call for stricter gun-control laws.
     In a brief ceremony, event organizer Christopher Boyster read the names of the school’s 32 victims, and protesters — clad all in black except for ribbons in Virginia Tech’s school colors — lay on the ground to symbolize how little time it takes to purchase a handgun in some states.      Boyster says that the protest was not against the recreational use of firearms but instead to express outrage over a national gun-violence “epidemic” that claims the lives of 200 Americans each week.      “This is about coming together to protect our children and ourselves against gun violence,” Boyster says, “and to discuss and explore what must be done.”
     Brenda Weber, mother of two Rochester High School students, says that she joined the protest to honor children lost by other mothers and to remind herself how fortunate her kids were in a similar school situation.     “A gun was brought to Rochester High School last year,” Weber says. “They locked the school down, and nothing happened to the kids. We were very fortunate.”
     A few counterprotesters, including Tom Shafer, host of a cable-access program, watched the ceremony. Shafer says that a larger initiative was planned but scrapped when police said that a city permit would be required for a full protest.     Shafer says Illinois already has some of the nation’s strictest gun laws and that someone purchasing his or her first firearm must wait 30 days and undergo a background check before acquiring a Firearms Owner Identification Card.
Contact Amanda Robert at arobert@illinoistimes.com.
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