ROCKFORD (WIFR) – A group in Rockford is standing up against who they think are partially responsible for the recent rash of deadly gun violence- gun store owners. Not everyone agrees they are to blame, though.
Annie Davis knows the pain of gun violence better than most people. Her grandson Wayne died shortly after being shot almost three years ago. She says the streets of Rockford haven’t changed much since.
“He was shot in the head and he was left there to die,” said Davis. “I hear gun shots a lot around my house and I never know when someone is being killed.”
Annie joined members of the Rockford MoveOn.org Council Saturday afternoon. They’re an anti-gun group that was rallying on Rockford’s west side after what some are considering one of the city’s deadliest weeks in a long time with four people killed by gun violence.
“Unfortunately I don’t think anything’s going to change immediately because right now there are so many guns in the hands of people,” said Jude Wrzensinski, coordinator of the rally.
It’s that belief that has the group calling on all gun stores to stop selling firearms. MoveOn.org feels stopping the sales of guns will lead to less gun violence on the streets. The group is also pushing for universal background checks on all gun owners.
"Life is precious,” said Christopher Sims. He was part of the anti-gun rally. “Life is important, so if we can do anything to help curb the violence that's out there then I think the better off we are."
Some gun owners say they feel they’re unfairly being blamed for criminals committing murder and that more gun control will only affect law abiding citizens.
"It's the criminals,” said Kap Guns store owner Kenny Polhamus. “The criminals don't abide by laws so more laws aren't going to do anything."
Gun owners say concealed carry in Illinois is going to force residents in the Stateline to get more used to guns. Anti-gun advocates argue concealed carry will result in more deadly crimes and gun supporters say it will act as a deterrent instead.