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Washington protest planned against NRA, gun violence.

WASHINGTON - Thousands of people are expected to gather on the Mall in Washington on Mother's Day (May 9) to express their opposition to gun violence.

The demonstration, organized by Citizens Against Gun Violence, will display a "Chain of Remembrance," 18-inch square panels created in memory of people killed by guns. Phyllis Wetherill of Washington founded Citizens Against Gun Violence after her 15-year-old next-door neighbor, Alan Colaco, was shot to death in the front yard of his home. Wetherill said the chain could stretch for half a mile by Mother's Day. If so, it would comprise 1,760 squares.

For the past several weeks leaders of Washington area churches, synagogues and civic groups have conducted protest vigils each Thursday at noon outside the National Rifle Association headquarters.

"We are here to force the NRA to the table to help resolve the violence on our streets," the Rev. Albert Gallmon, pastor of Mt. Carmel Baptist Church in Washington, said recently at one of the vigils. "They continue to fight the Brady Bill and oppose legislation to regulate gun sales."

He was one of more 100 protesters who had gathered that day. Passing drivers honked their horns in a show of support. Washington has the highest annual homicide rate among U.S. cities: 80.6 people per 100,000, according to statistics released by the FBI on April 25.

According to FBI statistics for 1991, which were released last year, handguns were the most common homicide weapon, accounting for more than one of every two homicides. In 1991, 13,108 Americans were murdered with handguns. Overall, firearms were used in 16,686 or 66.3 percent of all homicides.

Rifles or shotguns were used in only 8.6 percent of all homicides, the FBI said, despite the fact that rifles and shotguns account for two of every three guns in the U.S.; handguns make up the other third.
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Title Annotation:Washington, D.C.; National Rifle Association
Author:Vidulich, Dorothy
Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Date:May 7, 1993
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