With no permit, activists rally at gun shop again
| Tribune staff reporter
- October 28, 2007
Protesters were back at a south suburban gun store on Saturday to rally for gun control while the march's organizers defiantly refused to pay Riverdale police for a permit.
Organizers said the fee was excessive.
Rev. Michael Pfleger has staged frequent protests at Chuck's Gun Shop since May with Rev. Jesse Jackson, who could not be there on Saturday. The men say they are bringing attention to the availability of guns in suburban communities that are used on Chicago streets.
The march also sought to highlight the recent shooting deaths of six Chicago Public School students.
"We buried two children this week," Pfleger said. "We're not going to stop marching on gun shops until there are more strict gun laws."
The march started at Shekinah Chapel, and ended 10 blocks away at the gun shop in the 14300 block of Indiana Avenue. Organizers estimated that 300 people were involved.
Riverdale police sent Pfleger a letter Oct. 17 asking him to pay the cost of additional personnel for the protest and a $643 deposit. Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina Roman Catholic Church, refused to pay.
"We are not paying money to gather in a peaceful assembly," he said. "If they don't want us there, they should vote Riverdale gun-free."
Among those who attended the rally were Ald. Howard Brookins (21st) and Will Burns, a candidate for state representative in the 26th District.
Criminal trespassing charges against Pfleger and Jackson were dropped this month after they were arrested in a June confrontation with John Riggio, the store's owner. The Cook County state's attorney's office said it dropped the charges after reviewing the evidence and determining it could not prove its case.
Riggio could not be reached for comment Saturday.
-- posted at: 12:54pm CDT