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‘Too much pain:’ Jackson, Pfleger lead anti-violence march

Rev. Jesse Jackscenter hugs supporter after rally outside Chuck's Gun Shop 14310 S. IndianAve. Saturday June 16 2012 Riverdale. |

Rev. Jesse Jackson, center, hugs a supporter after a rally outside Chuck's Gun Shop, 14310 S. Indiana Ave., Saturday, June 16, 2012, in Riverdale. | Chandler West~Sun-Times

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Updated: July 18, 2012 6:45AM

Saturday mornings usually are busy inside Chuck’s Gun Shop in south suburban Riverdale.

But the only activity near the business this weekend took place outside the front door as the Reverends Jesse Jackson and Michael Pfleger joined 100 others in an anti-gun protest.

“Are you there?” Pfleger called out, standing near the shuttered gun shop. “We want to talk to you.”

But no one answered. The owners decided to close the store during Saturday’s demonstration.

“This is the most potent place out on the South Side of Chicago and south suburbs where people get a lot of guns,” said Eric Hammond, of Woodlawn. “They’re getting handguns left and right.”

Hammond, 40, came to highlight the plight of the daughter of a Chicago Park District co-worker. Michelle Gregory, 21, was shot three times in the back and left for dead on a Maywood street in April. Gregory, described as a firecracker, always stood up for herself, but she had no one to protect her the night she was murdered, Hammond said.

“I’m out here to protest against gun violence. It makes no sense,” he said. “You know they’re saying it’s the people that are squeezing the trigger, but at the same time without those manufacturers, there’s no guns to shoot.”

Protesters called for gun manufacturers to “title guns, just like cars.”

Jackson marched with Pfleger and dozens of people for more than an hour before ending with a prayer for the victims of gun violence, whose families came out in full force. Both men had been arrested for trespassing outside the shop during a 2007 protest, but the charges were later dropped.

On Saturday, Jackson called for the city to come up with a plan to end gun violence and help create more jobs: “Jobs in, guns out, not guns in, jobs out,” Jackson said. “Stopping guns is one leg of the problem, creating jobs is the other. There’s too much violence, too much pain and too much fear.”

Pfleger said he has seen the rising tallies of shootings, and he’s hoping that neighborhoods get angry and put up a fight.

“Communities got to rise up and take authority in their homes and on their blocks,” Pfleger said. “. . . We’ve got to make sure that we get neighbors and neighborhoods to become strong and aggressive.”

Store owners could not be reached for comment.

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