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CR Gun Violence Rally

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (KGAN/KFXA) - On Wednesday a group in Cedar Rapids worked to make the community safer. Across from the Linn County Courthouse, the non-partisan group Organizing for Action held a rally advocating for gun violence prevention.

Organizing for Action was formerly Organizing for America the grass roots group that worked on President Obamas re-election campaign. Since the president cannot be re-elected again, many members of the group chose to stay together to fight for what they consider important issues instead of a specific party.

Cedar Rapids Police Chief, Wayne Jerman, who spoke at the rally, said the city is already making huge strides when it comes to gun violence. Jerman said after recent violent incidents in Newtown, Connecticut,  and Aurora, Colorado, action must be taken to curb gun violence.

We need to do something, maintaining the status quo is not acceptable, Chief Jerman said.

Cate Barker with Organizing for Action said thats exactly whats motivating the group to fight for change.

As long as our laws are as lax as they are, gun violence is an issue everywhere, including in Cedar Rapids, Barker said.

Fighting gun violence has been top of mind for Jerman.

 My number one priority was to address the gun violence in Cedar Rapids, Jerman said.

Jerman explained that since he became chief in October of 2012, the city has already come a long way with incidents of gun violence down 20 percent. Jerman also said that there have been notable strides made in Wellington Heights. He said burglaries, auto theft and incidents of criminal mischief are all down.

Im very proud of not just my house but the neighborhood and the accomplishments it's making,
Justin Wasson, the President of the Wellington Heights Neighborhood Association said.

Its that neighborhood pride that lead Wasson to speak at Wednesdays rally.

To debunk the stereotypes that we're a dangerous neighborhood, because it's just not true, Wasson said.

Jerman added that he supports a number of the gun control initiatives laid out by the Obama Administration. Those include strengthening assault weapons bans, making gun trafficking a federal offense and instituting background checks.


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