Detroit News Online July 13, 2007 Gun-control rally targets presidential hopefuls at NAACP forum Jonnelle Marte / The Detroit News DETROIT -- Weusi Olusola was 16 when four nearly fatal bullets knocked him to the ground while he was walking down a street in west Detroit. Twenty years later, Olusola found himself on the ground again -- only this time, it was by choice. He was one of 32 kids and adults dressed in black who lay down Thursday in front of Cobo Center to bring gun control to the attention of the nine presidential candidates participating in a forum as part of the last day of the NAACP national convention. "We're here to hopefully put this on somebody's radar so that our future leaders and our current leaders can tackle this head-on," said Olusola, who moves in a wheelchair because he hasn't been able to walk since he was shot as an innocent bystander. He is president of Pioneers for Peace, a group of people who were disabled because of violence and who fight to prevent further violence. Planned by Pioneers for Peace and Million Mom March, the demonstration was one of dozens being held nationwide sparked by Abigail Spangler, a Virginia woman who wanted to do something to honor the families of the Virginia Tech victims. It was the first one in Michigan. While the protesters lay down, they held up signs that summarized their mission: "32 people are murdered each day from guns. Five of them are kids. Save our children. Keep guns out of schools and childproof handguns. Save our communities. Keep guns out of the hands of criminals. We need sensible gun laws now!" The demonstration took place at 11:45 a.m. after the forum had begun, and the presidential candidates may not have seen the activists. "It didn't impact anything," NAACP spokesman Richard McIntire said of the protest's effect on the forum. "Everything turned out very well." The groups were advocating for background checks on all gun purchases, a limit on the number of purchases allowed and a renewal of the assault weapons ban. "It has to stop. I'm tired of crying every time I put on the news because some mother somewhere is crying," said Valarie Walden, president of then Detroit chapter of Million Mom March, who said she lost a fiance and cousin to gun violence. "I'm here trying to make some changes because I'd like for this place to be a better place."