Father Michael Pfleger: Gun Violence ‘Not Just a Chicago Problem’

The Rev. Michael Pfleger is taking his gun violence message to Washington, D.C.

The social activist and senior pastor at Saint Sabina Church will join local and national organizations next week in D.C. to demand that Congress pass common sense gun safety laws.

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“In this country, pressure brings about change. Change doesn’t happen on its own it comes from pressure,” Pfleger said.

The rally will take place Wednesday on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Fifty organizations based in Chicago and beyond are expected to attend as well as members of Congress, including U.S. Reps. Robin Kelly (D-Illinois), John Lewis (D-Georgia) and Lucy McBath (D-Georgia), U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy and others.

Pfleger is in favor of universal background checks and reinstating the assault weapon ban. He believes guns should be registered in the way cars are &nash; with titles. “We have to make people who buy guns responsible,” he said.

The debate on gun control legislation has gained momentum in the wake of recent mass shootings in Texas, Ohio, California and Chicago. To date, there have been 283 mass shootings in the U.S., according to data tracked by the nonprofit group Gun Violence Archive.

And according to an August report by PBS News Hour, 110 bills containing the word “gun” have been introduced in Congress since January.

Chicago’s gun violence is a popular talking point for those who claim that “gun control doesn’t work.” To that argument, Pfleger says: “What’s so sad is that they’re displaying their ignorance. They keep saying ‘look at this violence in Chicago, and they have strict gun laws.’ Their ignorance is Chicago doesn’t live on an island to itself; it’s a part of America. As long as I can drive 15 minutes [to Indiana] and get what I want, whatever we’re doing in Chicago is a Band-Aid.”

According to the Chicago Police Department, the total number of shootings and homicides for August was at its lowest since 2011.

“This gun issue is an American problem. It’s not just a Chicago problem. We have children today going to school with bulletproof backpacks,” said Pfleger. “Children in our schools having more active shooter drills than fire drills. How many children are going to have to die before we as a country decide that we are going to protect them?”

For more information about the rally next week, visit saintsabina.org.

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