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Residents tired of violence rally in support of tougher gun laws

Mike Desmond/WBFO News

After a series of rallies opposing New York's new controls on guns, supporters of the NY SAFE Act turned out at Martin Luther King Park Monday night to show their support for gun control.The rally was held at the giant bust of Martin Luther King, a victim of gun violence 45 years ago. It was sponsored by an array of anti-violence groups, faith groups, and Local 1199 SEIU.

"Enough is enough," the crowd chanted.

Many of the speakers pointed out violence has long been a problem in the Inner City, with young people dying before their time. Rev. Greg Nelson, local president of the National Action Network, told the crowd the violence has to stop.

"No child, I don't care what color, deserves to be shot down in the streets like a dog. We have to stop it. As a pastor, I'm tired of going to grave and putting young boys and girls in the ground who will never go to their prom, never graduate from high school," Nelson said.

Stop the Violence Coalition Chairman Murray Holman says the shooters are increasingly across all of the city.

"We need to rethink some things. We need to come out here way before Sandy Hook and talk about Buffalo, talk about Erie County, talk about how we're going to save the youth in our neighborhoods because Gus Macker is coming, Juneteenth is coming, Elmwood is coming, North Buffalo is coming. They carry guns everywhere they go," Holman said.

There were sign-waving supporters of gun rights in the crowd, saying people in the city don't understand why rural and suburban people need weapons for their protection.

"If these people had more guns and more guns were legally owned in the cities, I don't think people are going to pull up on you with a gun and take your wallet. They're not going to pull up on the pharmacy taking the oxycontin if these pharmacists are carrying guns," said Michael Guerin.

Guerin says if the principal in Sandy Hook Elementary School had a gun she could have shot the man who stormed in and murdered 26 people, including 20 children.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.