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‘There’s no defense against assault weapons’

Local leaders speak out after Colorado shooting

Staff report

DETROIT — After a lone gunman shot and killed 12 people and wounded many others in a Colorado movie theatre during the midnight release of “The Dark Night Rises” on June 20, many throughout the nation have spoken out against assault weapons. But several local leaders, who have witnessed violent deaths throughout Detroit for years, banning assault weapons has been a hot topic for some time.

Rev. D. Alexander Bullock of Rainbow PUSH organized a vigil July 22 at Action Impact, a gun store in Southfield, to draw attention to the issue.

“We had a picket line … calling for question of reviving a ban on assault (weapons),” Bullock said. “Obama campaigned on reviving the ban in 2008. It’s time to again have that discussion.”

Bullock said he’s been personally impacted by the news reports out of Colorado, as he was when he heard about the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords, Columbine and scores of other premeditated shootings that have captured the nation’s attention.

“Reviving the ban on assault weapons just makes sense,” he said. “There’s no defense against assault weapons. We’re talking about guns made to kill people that people can buy over the counter and wreck havoc on communities.”

State Rep. Lisa Howze, D-Detroit, who attended the vigil, acknowledges that seeking such a ban is an uphill battle.

“We haven’t heard our officials talk about policy,” Howze says. “The NRA (National Rifle Association) finances campaigns. The gun industry is so powerful.”

Howze says a national day of action is planned for Aug. 25 to make banning assault weapons a primary topic during the presidential debates. Gun-rights advocates will be marching at Washington, D.C.

“We are poised to make this a national issue,” she said.

Bullock stresses that he’s only looking to ban assault weapons, not handguns or shotguns used to hunt or for self-protection.

“We’re not talking about attacking the second amendment right to bear arms,” he said.

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