5 arrested during protest at North Phila. gun store

Inquirer staff - Philadelphia Inquirer - 01/15/2009

Five people protesting inside a North Philadelphia gun store were arrested after they refused to leave when ordered by police. Police said they gave the five, who are connected with the religious coalition Heeding God's Call, three warnings before the arrests were made.

The incident happened about 3 p.m. inside Colosimo's Gun Center, 933-35 Spring Garden St. Police said the five were awaiting arraignment last night on charges of defiant trespass.

One of the protesters, Melissa DeLong, 28, of Camden, said: "I'd rather leave in a [police] wagon than see one more child in a coffin." The protest was part of a weeklong antigun effort by Heeding God's Call that includes a 3:30 p.m. rally on Saturday that will start at Broad and Poplar Streets and end at Colosimo's.

Store owner James Colosimo, 77, spoke to the protesters for about an hour. He said he doesn't sell guns illegally and objects to being targeted by Heeding God's Call. "The church doesn't make laws," said Colosimo, a Roman Catholic. "I don't like a lot of what's going on in the church, but I don't sit on the steps trying to stop Mass."