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Local group rallies downtown Youngstown for gun control

Published: Sat, February 23, 2013 @ 12:08 a.m.

By Sean Barron



Robin Wesson’s 22-year-old brother was shot to death Nov. 9, 2007, in front of his East Side home.

Starting shortly after the shooting, she has since channeled her grief in positive ways.

She advocates against gun violence, takes her anti-violence messages to youngsters, and reminds people of the constant pain from such a loss.

Wesson’s brother’s killing also was an impetus for her participation in Friday’s vigil in Central Square to call attention to what participants feel is a need for stronger gun- control measures.

“I never, ever want to see anybody hurt as bad as my family still hurts,” said Wesson, holding a photo album with several photos of her brother, Sidney Wesson, who she said also mentored children.

Wesson and fellow participants John Jackson, Mark Gavin Sr., Roger Chamberlain and George Newth are volunteers with Organizing for Action, an offshoot of a political-action committee President Barack Obama started.

The one-hour local gathering was one of an estimated 125 such vigils that took place Friday across the country to raise greater awareness of the effects of gun violence and the need for reforms, Jackson said.

The five held signs calling for banning high-capacity magazines, closing background-check loopholes and contacting Congress to vote on the proposals.

“The only way we can do anything is to call Congress. They’re the ones who make the laws,” Jackson said.

One sign was a reminder of the estimated 30,000 gun deaths in the U.S. each year, of which about 18,000 are suicides, he explained.

Along those lines, the states with the highest number of gun owners also have the highest rates of suicide by firearms, noted Chamberlain, who added that many over-the-counter medications are more tightly regulated than gun purchases.

Jackson said about 92 percent of people support closing such loopholes, and that a vast majority of National Rifle Association members feel the same. He also was quick to add that he is not in favor of banning all firearms, and that law-abiding gun owners have nothing to worry about.

“I believe in the Second Amendment and that people have a right to protect themselves in their homes,” Jackson added.

Jackson said one of the group’s main objectives is to encourage more people to pressure their elected officials to vote for sensible gun-law reforms.

Echoing the president during his recent State of the Union speech, Jackson said: “[Former Arizona U.S. Rep.] Gabby Giffords deserves a vote. The children of Newtown [Conn.] deserve a vote.”


1bmanresident(607 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

These play on words with the amount of suicides by guns needs to be looked at. If a person truly wants to kill themselves they should be able to do the deed with or without a gun. People jump off bridges to kill themselves, should we ban bridges?

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2NoBS(2845 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

I don't understand how people can blame one inanimate object for the death of a human, but not all inanimate objects. When someone dies as a result of being hit by a car, nobody blames the car. When someone is stabbed, nobody blames the knife. When someone is poisoned, nobody blames the poison.

You gun-haters, ask yourself why the Constitution specifically allows us to own and carry guns freely. And because you're getting ready to say "Yeah, but they had muskets and flintlocks back then!" let me point out that those were the most advanced weapons of the time.

Now in this story, Jackson claims law-abiding gun owners have nothing to worry about. Yes, that's true, unless the gun owner is worried about being denied the choice to own any gun the Brady Bunch and its sycophants find just too scary, or any gun that has a magazine capacity of more than they find acceptable this week.

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3ytownsteelman(680 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

While these liberals were having their little protest, all around them in every corner of the city a daily battle rages between the hoodlums and property owners who live, work and do business here. Which one of the two groups will this proposed legislation affect? Certainly not the hoodlums.

Gabby Giffords does not deserve a vote. This issue was settled with the adoption of he second amendment. Maybe if government wasn't so wrapped up with micromanaging everyone's lives they wouldn't be such a target.

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4Photoman(1249 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

The current administration has divided we citizens into small segments and the master puppeteer seems to be able to fan the flames of discontent in each segment at his will. Gun control does not work. It will not work! Disarmed citizens live in fear of both government and criminals (actually both are criminal in their actions). Give up one right and you'll soon be giving up others.

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5dmacker(546 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

Recent statistics released by the Government claim 2 million people have failed background checks due to criminal backgrounds and dangerous mental illness. Why pass laws for more background checks in the hope things will be different. None of these criminals have been prosecuted for lying on the Federal background check form. Lying on the form is a Federal felony.
Does anyone else see a problem here. Instead of prosecuting the criminals this administration and it's supporters want to simply pass more laws and hope for better results. Until we place the blame, for the criminal misuse of firearms, where it belongs and vigorously prosecute the criminal we will never stop gun crime. The real cause of gun crime is the criminal.

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61970mach1(1005 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

Protest the thugs in Youngstown who make the city unsafe instead.

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7redeye1(5683 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

All this was, is a photo -op for these people and nothing else.

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8Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

All this talk about gun laws has the animals, that slither in our streets, laughing there a@#es off. Is America really that stupid?

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9kurtw(1832 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

Prior post has it about right. Only way to make criminals (the mentally unhinged belong in another category) think twice or three times before pulling the trigger is to make the consequences of their actions so awful as to give them pause.

How about mandatory sentencing of life imprisonment without parole for anyone convicted of gun violence of the kind we just saw at YSU? "Felonious Assault" is just a wrist slap- 2 to 8 years and back out in three.

Criminals aren't stupid- they figure the odds like the rest of us. Send the message out that if you go on a shooting rampage you get put away for life- well, that could make a difference. It sure makes more sense than the effort to disarm people who obey the law.

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