Foley Square rally calls for action against illegal guns

Families, activists and officials rally in Foley Square against the trafficking of illegal guns on Monday. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

Officials, advocates and families who have lost loved ones to gun violence called for the repeal of provisions that restrict gun control efforts.

Families, activists and officials rally in Foley Square against the trafficking of illegal guns on Monday.
Families, activists and officials rally in Foley Square against the trafficking of illegal guns on Monday. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Apple and the artist

More than two dozen activists gathered in Foley Square on Monday calling for federal action to stem the flow of illegal guns.

As of Aug. 4, 536 people were shot in New York City this year — up from 531 people in the same time last year, according to NYPD data.

At Monday’s rally, Harlem Mothers S.A.V.E. co-founder Jackie Rowe-Adams called those statistics “out of control” and said illegal guns were largely to blame.

Her group works to combat gun violence and support those who have been affected by it. Rowe-Adams lost two sons to gun violence, according to the group’s website.

“Today we stand here saying, ‘our children are under attack,’” she said. “Enough is enough.”

Rowe-Adams and other activists hope to see the repeal of the Tiahrt Amendment — which prohibits the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives from sharing information from its firearm trace database.

They also want to see the repeal of the Dickey Amendment, which states that federal funding given to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prevent injuries can’t be used to advocate or promote gun control.

Assemb. Inez Dickens, whose district includes parts of Harlem, called for federal legislation targeting the spread of illegal guns.

“Right now, you could go on any block in Harlem, practically, and purchase a gun,” she maintained. “There’s no need for a young person, or anyone, to be able to purchase a gun on the street.”

City Comptroller Scott Stringer, meanwhile, said the Trump administration, backed by the NRA, was “hellbent on putting guns in the wrong hands.”

“When I wake up in the morning, when I know my kids are in school, the worst nightmare I have is that somebody’s going to call and say, ‘shots fired,’” he said. “We have got to start investing in our community and investing in our children.”

In his own address at the rally, which came just over a week after mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, State Sen. Robert Jackson (D-Washington Heights) denounced gun violence as “a continuous action that’s killing our community.”

“Not only the black community, the Latino community, all communities. It’s killing all of us. And we must stop it,” he said. “Those individuals as legislators that do not want to take action — vote ‘em out.”

Maya Rajamani