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Parents of murdered children call for tougher gun control laws

Marcelino Diaz wipes away tears while holding phohis sLino Diaz who was killed last May as families gathered St. SabinChurch

Marcelino Diaz wipes away the tears, while holding a photo of his son, Lino Diaz, who was killed last May, as families gathered at St. Sabina Church to remember their loved ones lost to gun violence and to call for an assault weapons ban. Monday, December 31, 2012. I Brian Jackson~Sun-Times

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Updated: February 2, 2013 6:21AM

“My daughter, Aliyah Shell. She was six years old, killed Mar. 17, 2012.”

Diana Aguilar made the grim statement Monday at a church podium as she identified a photo of her daughter.

Aguilar kicked off a somber procession of parent after parent who lost a child to gun violence in Chicago.

On New Year’s Eve, they gathered at St. Sabina Catholic Church on the South Side, criticizing the city’s more than 500 homicides in 2012.

They demanded both gun control laws and the response from City Hall get tougher.

“My son is Deontae Malone, murdered Dec. 28, 2011. He was 11,” a parent said.

Another parent added: “My son is Terrell Bosley, killed April 4, 2006. He was 18.”

That parent, Tommy Bosley, complained Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his Police Supt. Garry McCarthy have been ineffective in the battle to stem the killings.

“I’m tired of our local politicians telling us that it’s sunny outside when it’s storming,” he said, referring to Emanuel and McCarthy’s steady message that overall crime is down, even as murders have skyrocketed.

“They’re insulting our intelligence,” said Bosley, who co-founded Purpose Over Pain, a group made up of parents who lost children. “But we’ll meet them at the polls.”

With the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, the families are pushing for a ban on military style assault weapons and large capacity ammunition clips; state licensing for firearm dealers; more stringent background checks and closure of the private sale loophole.

“This is all of our problem,” said Mark Walsh, campaign director for the Illinois Council. “Each year in Illinois, we lose over 1,000 people to gun violence. These deaths are tragic and preventable. We need strong gun laws to protect communities and children.”

But the parents worried the recent gun control debate begun in the wake of the Dec. 14 massacre of 26 children and adults at Newtown, Conn. will dissipate.

“Everytime we have these killings, people demand change. After that, we go right back to sleep, to normal. But for us, there is no normal,” said Annette Holt, whose son Blair was killed by gang gunfire on a city bus in May 2007. “Now that the holidays are over and the Newtown funerals are over, if we don’t keep the pressure on, it’s going to go away again.”

The Rev. Michael Pfleger, often pulling parents together to drumbeat for change, held up his own photo of a foster son who died from stray gunfire.

“My son Jarvis was killed May 30, 1998,” Pfleger said. “He was 17 years old.”

Maria Pike Davis, whose son Ricky Pike, 24, was murdered with a semi-automatic on Aug. 3rd, through tears, pleaded for change.

“We, the surviving families and friends have become collateral damage,” she said. “We must garnish the courage and the backbone to overcome the ones who hide behind the NRA [and] the Second Amendment . . .”

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