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Gun Violence Prevention Rally In Cedar Rapids

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- The national debate on gun control and violence will play out right here in Cedar Rapids this week.

As long as our gun laws are so lax that a criminal or any mentally ill person can get their hand on a gun, we are all living in Newtown, said Cate Barker with Organizing for Action.

Barker is organizing an hour long Gun Violence Prevention rally on August 21 at 11am. The rally will take place on Mays Island between 2nd and 3rd avenue. Police Chief Wayne Jerman will be among the guest speakers at the event.

Barker says its time to organize change namely lowering the number of gun crimes in Cedar Rapids.

They've been up for the past few years, Barker said.

The Cedar Rapids Police Department says that there have been 47 gun related crimes over the past 6 months. Thats far too many for neighborhood leaders.

I think that gun violence is more prevalent than even 5 or 6 years ago, said Linda Seger with the Northwest Neighbors Neighborhood Association.

She said she is worried, but not about ALL guns.

The guns that I am concerned about are the guns that are illegalthat end up on the streets that are used for crime.

Seger says she doesn't want to infringe on rights.

I want a safe neighborhood, but I don't want to disarm my neighbors that are legally able to carry guns, Seger said.

Barker agrees, and says background check legislation currently on the table in Washington won't take them away.

If they're not a criminal, if they're not mentally ill, if they don't have a record, they'll be able to own a gun, Barker said.

For Harbor Neighborhood Association president Dan Steichen, Wednesday's rally is less about gun rights and more about community.

The more you bring people together, the less violence you have, the more people know people, the more they can watch each others property and turn in the bad ones, Steichen said.
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