(Peggy Walsh-Sarnecki) Saying he wants to draw attention to the link between the decreasing number of jobs and the increasing number of violent gun incidents, the Rev. Jesse Jackson is calling for a series of protests today at gun shops around the country.
In metro Detroit, a group led by the Rev. David Bullock of Greater St. Matthew Baptist Church in Highland Park will protest noon-1 p.m. outside Action Impact Gun Shop on West 8 Mile Road in Southfield.
A prayer vigil was to be held in Flint, but was later canceled. Action Impact was chosen because of its location on 8 Mile, which is a symbol of the divide between city and suburb, rich and poor, Bullock said. But the gun store’s owner disagrees.
“I guess I’m disappointed because if you come in my store, I have wonderful customers. I have families in my store. I have serious good, sound functional customers in my store. I have students in my store to learn gun safety,” owner William Kucyk said. “So why you would think this would be a symbol for that protest is unwarranted.”
Jackson hopes the protests draw attention to three issues in particular: reviving the ban on assault weapons, stricter controls on illegal weapons and a review of the stand-your-ground laws.
“We’re in an emergency state of rising violence with guns in our city,” Jackson told news media and supporters during a conference call Friday afternoon. “More are being killed in the streets of America than in Iraq and Baghdad combined.”
Urban areas are living in a state of “jobs out, guns in,” Jackson said. He wants to change that to “jobs in, guns out.”
The connection between jobs and gun violence is the focus of the Michigan protests, Bullock said.
“When you look at Detroit and Flint, economically there’s a connection between guns going in and jobs going out,” Bullock said. “The best public safety proposal must have an economic plan in it for urban Michigan.”
Bullock cited recent killings in Detroit.
“I know the pace we’re on in Detroit is to have one of the highest numbers in recent history for gun violence and gun deaths,” Bullock said.