RIVERDALE, Ill. -- Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., founder and president of Rainbow PUSH Coalition, announced today he will organize a national day of protest in 25 cities on Aug. 28, 2007, to rally support for legislation to restrict gun sales.

“We have the right to live safe and secure, no matter where we live in America,” Rev. Jackson said during a prayer vigil at Chuck’s Gun Shop in this Chicago suburb.

“Our marching does not kill people; people who buy guns from gun shops kill people,” Rev. Jackson said.

Chuck's Gun Shop sells more guns than any other gun dealer in the nation, according to the Americans for Gun Safety Foundation.

Current laws are not protecting the nation’s youth, Rev. Jackson said, as is clear from the fact that in Chicago alone, more than 30 young people have died this year from gun violence.

Father Michael Pfleger of the Faith Community of St. Sabina said that in 2002 and 2003, when the Chicago Police department recovered guns used to commit crimes, a total of 800 of them were traced back to Chuck’s Gun Shop. Last Saturday, Rev. Jackson and Fr. Pfleger were arrested while leading their third protest this year at this store.

About 200 people joined Rev. Jackson and Fr. Pfleger at today’s prayer vigil, including Jennifer Bishop of Million Moms March. Also present were Annette Holt, Blair Holt’s mother, and Brandon Crawford, Blair’s best friend. Holt, a 16-year-old honor student, was killed in May in a shooting on a CTA bus.

“Annette’s son is not the last one to die,” Rev. Jackson said. “Ten have died since Blair, including three shot this week. We choose life over death, and we want to close down merchants of death.”

Rev. Jackson said the nationwide rallies would represent a grassroots effort to press state and federal legislators into passing “common sense” legislation to stem the flow of handguns and military-style automatic weapons.

“I encourage anyone running for the presidency to address this issue in their next debates,” Rev. Jackson said. He favors tighter restrictions on who is allowed to buy guns, better background checks, longer waiting periods for gun purchases, and restrictions on how many guns an individual may buy within a calendar period.

The National Rifle Association, a powerful special-interest lobbying organization and chief proponent of lax rules for gun ownership, is promoting a federal bill that would, among other things, eliminate any limits on the quantities of guns an individual may purchase.

“We should all be outraged at the number of young people killed,” said Annette Holt. “Where is our conscience? Any mother or father who shares my pain should stand with me and take action.”

The August 28 protests will take place on the anniversary of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s historic March on Washington.

The Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a progressive organization protecting, defending and expanding civil rights to improve economic and educational opportunity. The organization is headquartered at 930 E. 50th St. in Chicago. To learn more, please visit www.rainbowpush.org, or telephone (773) 373-3366.