NEW YORK (1010 WINS/WCBS 880) — A group that included lawmakers and civic leaders led a rally and march against gun violence Sunday afternoon in Manhattan.
New York State Senators Malcolm Smith (D- St. Albans) and Gustavo Rivera (D- Bronx) were joined by Rev. Al Sharpton in calling for for illegal guns to be taken off the streets.
The smiling faces of loved ones lost to gun violence decorated signs, shirts and buttons as the crowd marched.
More than 200 people showed up for the rally and chanted “Don’t Shoot New York” as they marched from the United Nations building to Times Square.
Wanda Manley’s 13-year-old nephew became a victim when he was gunned down in Queens as rival gangs shot it out.
“The bullet just traveled until it hit something and it hit him in the back of the head,” she told WCBS 880′s Peter Haskell, “he was more than a quarter of a mile away.”
Manley said the impact of the shooting was devastating.
“The whole family is still in counseling. I think it’s something that we’ll never, ever get over,” she said.
Sonia Rincon, of 1010 WINS, spoke with the mother of a teen gun violence victim, who died one year ago in Queens.
“We failed him. I told him that he could be all that he could be. He was a good kid,” she said.
One 13-year-old boy, who survived being struck in the head by a stray bullet at baseball practice in Brooklyn, was also among those at Sunday’s rally.
“I think the message is here that just stop the violence and do something productive with your life,” he said.
Sen. Smith spoke with 1010 WINS before the rally and said he hoped the march would send a loud message about seizing illegal guns, which he called “an international problem.”
“We understand that in order for New York City and state to be safe and secure, you have to get guns out of the street, get them out of the schools and get them out of our home. So this is an important day for everybody,” Smith said.
The rally is being presented by Operation SNUG (guns spelled backward), a statewide anti-violence initiative that works with local civic, religious and law enforcement officials to reduce killings and violence in addition to getting guns off the street.
Sunday’s march and rally was inspired in part by the tragic shootings in Arizona in early January.
“We are going to be calling for people to put down their guns. We know that New York is the financial capital of the world, but we also believe it could be the safest city in the world,” Smith said.
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