May 1998

Media Contacts: Sarah Goodwin, 404/727-3366 - sgoodwi@emory.edu
Kathi Ovnic, 404/727-9371 - covnic@emory.edu



Citizens will gather in front of a local handgun manufacturer, Glock Inc., to protest deaths of nearly 40,000 Americans each year to handguns. The group is calling for the comprehensive regulation of the firearm industry. Dozens of pairs of shoes will be displayed, representing children and teens in Georgia who lose their lives each year to handguns. Protesters will be signing Mother's Day cards honoring Georgia mothers whose children have been killed by gun violence; the cards will be sent to The White House and to the president of Glock Inc.

WHEN: Saturday, May 2 from 2:30-4:30 p.m.

WHERE: Glock Inc., 6000 Highlands Parkway, S.E., Smyrna

WHO: In addition to victims of gun violence, other groups invited to participate include grassroots volunteer groups, churches, synagogues, mosques, community organizations, children's advocacy organizations, hospitals and interested citizens. Bernadette Leite is coordinating this year's efforts in Georgia. Ms. Leite is on staff at the Institute for Minority Health Research in the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. She is founder of the nationally recognized Kids Alive & Loved (KAL) a bereavement and grief support group designed to address post traumatic stress and break the cycle of assaultive behavior among youth survivors of violence. She created KAL after the handgun related murder of her 17 year old son in downtown Atlanta, in 1993.

"As you know, the Silent March is a national, grassroots volunteer effort to raise public awareness about prevention of handgun violence," Ms. Leite says. "The Silent March group has held two national demonstrations in Washington, D.C., and each time we have brought to the steps of Congress about 40,000 pair of shoes -- representing the number of people killed by guns each year in America. "We will again collect shoes representing gun deaths. However, in this year's Silent March, we also want to bring hundreds of thousands of people directly in front of handgun manufacturing plants. And this is what we are protesting:

1) Corporate irresponsibility, we will focus on the culpability of the handgun manufacturing industry in irresponsibly manufacturing, selling and distributing a lethal yet unregulated product -- while simultaneously resisting regulation reduce death and injury caused by these products.

2) The outrageous number of people who die annually from guns in the United States, 35,957 Americans were killed by firearms, including 5,825 children.

3) Inadequate industry initiatives to change the design, manufacture, distribution and sale of handguns in such a way that would effectively reduce gun-related death and injury among all age groups.

According to Ms. Leite, protests and press conferences will be held in all 50 states. Protests will also be held in front of gun manufacturing companies in seven states, including Georgia, and most will participate in the Mother's Day Card Campaign. According to Leite, the the goal of the Silent March includes, but is not limited to, the following:

1. Identify handgun manufacturers as responsible parties in the epidemic of death and injury caused by firearms. To draw attention to the enormous medical costs incurred by gun violence to the nation's health care system.

2. Demand that the handgun manufacturing industry take substantive measures in the design, sale, distribution, marketing and attitude toward regulation of their handgun products so as to measurably reduce gun-related injury and death.

3. Draw parallels between the tobacco industry and the handgun manufacturing industry in terms of their production and marketing of a lethal product.

4. Call on handgun violence victims, municipalities and states nationwide to consider taking legal action against handgun manufacturers as a way to protest the role gun manufacturers play in the nation's gun death epidemic.

5. Call on the White House to take the lead in demanding comprehensive federal regulation of the firearm industry, including licensing, registration and consumer insurance. To mobilize and empower citizens to make the streets, schools, malls and workplaces of Americans safer by reducing availability of firearms.


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