Updated 03/21/2013 08:27 PM
Gun Control Advocates Join Forces For Harlem Rally
As Albany and Washington lawmakers work on gun control measures, New Yorkers who were impacted by gun violence and other advocates for restricting access to weapons rallied in Harlem Thursday afternoon to demand an end to senseless crimes. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.
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Legendary singer Tony Bennett traveled to Harlem Thursday not to perform at the Apollo, but hit the community stage to speak out against guns violence.
"It's very important, because we live in a free country," Bennett said. "Assault weapons are for war. It should be the opposite. I'm against all assault weapons. It's not the United States if we're going to have guns all over the United States, especially assault weapons, automatic weapons."
Bennett joined a New York coalition against gun violence. Victims, community leaders and many others screamed, "Put down the weapons."
The event, on 125th Street and Seventh Avenue, was about supporting new gun laws passed in New York and pushing federal leaders to do more.
"People are standing up, speaking out and trying to make a difference, not only locally, but nationally," said Jackie Rowe-Adams, who lost two sons to gun violence. "Today is a day that we want Congress to hear us."
Assault weapons are a big concern for many across the country, but illegal handguns cause the most deaths across the five boroughs.
The New York City Police Department said it took more than 3,000 guns off of city streets. However, 240 people were killed by bullets, and hundreds of others were injured.
Faith Jackson, 9, was one of them. She said she was grazed by a bullet in the Bronx last year.
"It's just not good and hurting innocent people who didn't do nothing to them," Jackson said.
"We are going to claim our communities back and get the guns off the streets in the United States of America," said the Rev. Al Sharpton.
The crowd said that movement is starting in New York City.