Lakeshore News Tonight

Gary Leaders, Pastors Call For An End To Gun Violence

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A Northwest Indiana community is taking a stand to end gun violence within its borders.  Lakeshore News reporter Renetta Dubose shares the city of Gary’s message to Congress to help change gun laws……
Renetta Dubose:  Seeing a team of police, a coroner’s truck and witnesses in shock has almost become a permanent fixture in neighborhoods throughout the city of Gary following a homicide.  The recent killing of 18-year-old Charles Wood and 19-year-old Shaqwon Ham brought Shalonda Ham to tears as she joined others in Gary on Thursday who called on Congress to change gun laws for National Demand Action Day.

Shalonda Ham: And the adult responsible for providing the gun…(cries).

Ham is not the only mother grieving in Gary.  That’s why Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson rallied law enforcement and faith leaders to step up and demand federal lawmakers stiffen background checks on gun permits … mainly at gun shows where no background checks take place.  The group also wants government to reduce the number of “straw purchases” by making sure that guns owned by people legally do not end up in the wrong hands, as was the case in a Chicago crime where one man says he obtained an illegal gun initially purchased in Hammond.

Bishop Tavis Grant: Guns are purchased at Cabelas and WalMart.

Bishop Norman Hairston: We cannot sit back.

Members of the faith community say they will become more involved in eradicating gun violence and Gary Police Chief Wade Ingram says the Steel City is well on its way.

Wade Ingram: We have had eight homicides in Gary and our detectives have solved seven of those homicides.

Mayor Freeman-Wilson also emphasized the need to disarm individuals with high powered weapons like the one used in the tragic school shooting in Sandy Hook, Connecticut.

Karen Freeman-Wilson: Assault weapons and magazines allowing more than 20 rounds to be shot.

Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter says gun violence in Gary translates to young people killing other young people … primarily in the African-American community.   He advocates jail time over probation for cases involving illegal guns … but says parents must do more.

Bernard Carter:  Parents must step up.

Residents can support decreasing gun violence by signing the petition for congress at demand action dot org. In Gary…Renetta Dubose, Lakeshore News

In order to reduce violence… the Gary Police Department is holding a 10-week after-hours basketball league and tournament at Roosevelt High School.  Commander Kerry Rice says teams will play other teams in the city from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. each Thursday.  Winners receive a one-thousand-dollar prize and trophies.

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