Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Gun control

Chicago-area legislators try every year to approve gun control measures. They narrowly rejected two this afternoon, and they could get another chance to vote on another measure Thursday. The effort highlights the striking fact that 20 Chicago Public School students have been killed by gun violence this year.

Sen. John Cullerton, a Chicago Democrat, summed up the controversial debate in Springfield during a Statehouse news conference Tuesday with a group of Chicago Public School students. “There has been forever a mistrust, a distrust of legislators from rural areas and legislators from Chicago about gun control. It’s very, very difficult because there’s very little dialogue going on. And up until now, the folks that are from the rural areas have been very suspicious of us. They think we want to take away their guns, and they’ve been successful in killing any efforts that we tried to regulate the use of guns.”

Downstate lawmakers often oppose gun control measures because they have potential to reshape civil rights to own guns and to affect people who hunt for sport.

Cullerton said momentum could swing the other way after the November elections, particularly in the Chicago suburbs where Democrats are gaining hold. “Maybe next year after there are some changes in the legislature, we’ll have enough votes to pass them,” he said.

Chicago Public Schools chief executive officer Arne Duncan joined Cullerton and the students in Springfield Tuesday. Regarding the string of gun violence related to gangs in Chicago, he said, “It is absolutely crazy to me that our young people have to grow up and live with this kind of fear.” He specifically mentioned gun legislation in the House. Here are Duncan’s comments, the context and the status for three pieces of legislation:

One gun a month
HB 4393
Duncan’s comments: “I think it is an absolute outrage that Illinois does not limit the handgun buyers to one gun a month. What happens to those guns? They sell them to who? The gang bangers, and we see the devastating consequences.”

Context: Individuals would be limited to buying one handgun a month under a measure sponsored by Rep. Louis Arroyo, a Chicago Democrat. He intends to help prevent the number of illegal handguns spreading through the city and state.

Rep. Harry Osterman, a Chicago Democrat sponsoring other gun control measures, described the city’s gun violence as an “epidemic. “Some people may say that is your problem. But ladies and gentlemen, it is our problem.”

Republicans oppose the measure, saying it wouldn’t accomplish what it’s designed to do. They cite gun collectors who might buy multiple guns at one time, and they fear for the civil right to own a handgun for protection. Rep. Mike Bost, a Murphysboro Republican, said: “This is an issue of personal rights. The legislator, though well intended, has already admitted that handguns are already illegal in Chicago. This is not going to change that. All it does is infringe on those people I represent.” Rep. David Winters of Shirland, near Rockford, said some GOP lawmakers would consider supporting a measure with a less stringent limit, such as one gun per day.

The Illinois State Rifle Association also opposes the measure as ineffective and affecting only law-abiding citizens. Criminals would simply get their guns from other states, the association says.

Status: It narrowly failed in the House Wednesday afternoon. It’s expected to come back for another vote.

Mandatory background checks
HB 758
Duncan’s comments: “It is even more sickening that we do not require automatic background checks because that would help to keep guns away from gang bangers and drug dealers.”

Context: Cullerton said Tuesday that the measure with the most potential to advance through both chambers would mandate background checks for the sale of handguns from one private individual to another (both must have FOID cards). The private sale of guns would have to take place in a federally licensed dealer, triggering the automatic background check. The rule wouldn’t apply if a person sold a gun to another family member, including in-laws.

The Illinois Rifle Association opposes the mandated background checks as “highly burdensome” for private citizens with no demonstrable effect on crime.

The other sticky subject, however, is that the measure, sponsored by Osterman, includes controversial language that would prohibit the governor from using administrative rules to implement new policies. That might not fly in the Senate.

Status: The measure, minus the language about administrative rules, narrowly failed twice last year. Osterman said he could call it for a floor vote if he thinks he has enough support. It’s going to be close.

Semi-automatic weapons ban
HB 4357
Duncan's comments: “We think it’s absolutely inexcusable that Illinois does not have a ban on assault weapons. If hunters want to go hunt, let them hunt deer. We have no problem with that. No challenge there. But no one hunts deer with assault weapons. The only thing that people hunt with assault weapons is other people.”

Context: The measure, sponsored by Rep. Edward Acevedo, a Chicago Democrat, would make it illegal to own, sell, manufacture or buy semi-automatic assault weapons or attachments, including any .50 caliber rifle or .50 caliber cartridge.

The Illinois Rifle Association says the ban would affect popular sporting rifles and shotguns and include a registration system that would cost taxpayers $300 million a year, as well as that it has no demonstrable effect on crime.

Status: The measure stalled in the House so far this year and stalled in the Senate last year.


Common Sense,  9:31 PM  

Chicago already has a handgun ban.
Handguns except with some exceptions like alderman, police officers, some security guards, and a hand full or grandfathered in people from decades ago--Nobody can own a handgun in the city of Chicago not even in their own home for personal protection.

An Army Reservist in Chicago,trained and certified in weapons, cannot own a military weapon in Chicago even for target practice.
It is illegal. It can be a felony under certain circumstances.

Yes, guns are a problem. But yes, there is a legitimate and not dangerous according to statistics hunting and outdoors culture in many parts of the United States and not just rural parts. When I was in the Boy Scouts I shot 22 caliber and shotguns and nobody ever died and it was a skill, taught discipline and was useful in Army Basic training. Some Chicago Public High Schools used to have firing ranges with zero fatalities, no accidents, no shootings, no killings, no suicides. To teach respect for a weapon, safety, and markmensship is good. Too many kids who get illegal (Read: already illegal) weapons do not know safety or how to properly use them and have no respect because of our culture both the culture of violence and lack of respect for life and the complete ban culture which makes weapons even more attractive.

What about an old lady who uses a weapon for personal security (like cases you have heard on the news about an old lady shooting a robber and the State's Attorney could charge her) or one of these Arab or Korean(or any ethnic group) store owners who has a weapon when he takes the cash at night to make a night bank deposit?
These are criminals?

There is a different culture in Southern Illinois and rural areas.
It does have less murders and crime. (although that is changing with Crystal myth and the hip-hop rap culture of stupidity gripping now maybe 2 generations even white kids in rural areas) They are getting more gangs because of a bad urban influence.

There are hunting accidents. There are idiots who hunt drunk. There are the tragedies like in Wisconsin and Minnesota where Hmongs and Whites have killed each other although rare at least 2 high profile incidents. There are accidents where tragically kids get guns. But there is also millions maybe tens of millions or hundreds of millions over time that hunt, fish, outdoors, target shoot, skeet, shotgun, different animal hunting, bow hunting, military, former military, gun collectors etc. These are good law abiding citizens.

Gun laws will not stop the horrible tragedy of the young man who got hit with a baseball bat and was killed who was a good boy and a good boxer. I don't want to sound cliche about banning baseball bats. Many of these other high profile shootings would of not been stopped by the one gun a month law or any other gun laws as they were not (in some cases) automatic weapons and were not bought legally. These already are illegally bought or stolen guns.
These weapons are already out on the streets. The march by Jesse Jackson and Fr. Pleger dealt with a manufacturer of weapons that does not sell to civilians, certainly it would be nice to turn our AK-47s into plowshares but the problem is that law enforcement and military need them against gangs, terrorists, other countries etc. It is a naive approach that is not really dealing with the problem.

Chicago Democrats really crack me up as they always have exceptions and prove that they are not only hypocrites but that guns do work to deter crime. Alderman carry weapons. All of the Daley family, kids, inlaws, even the grandmother while alive had ARMED police officer bodyguards. Alderman Ed Burke has armed police officer bodyguards and he himself carries a weapon. Alderman Tillman carried a weapon. Governor Blagojevich has State Police officers who carry weapons.
It is the 11th ward precinct captains who illegally carry weapons, and city workers, and 19th ward sherriffs who legally carry but abuse it in shooting innocents. Why can't law abiding citizens who are trained use a weapon?

Switzerland has the highest rate of weapons per capita and mandates automatic weapons to be carried and in the homes of their milita.
Go to the 41st ward (one of the safest, cleanest, and least crime, gun violence, and murders) in the city of Chicago--and it has high rates of gun ownership albeit with Chicago Police officers (some good, most good but also some bad), their families, wives, kids--the point being that number of weapons and access to weapons does not mean high crime. A pure correlation even if you disagree with causation.

Lastly, not just the U of C studies, the Lott studies, the Dan Polsby studies at Northwestern but the FBI statistics state that when states (now many of them) have had concealed carry that crime went down. This makes logical sense. But even if you thought it was for homogeneous, low populated, rural states like Montana and Wyoming--what about multi-cultural, with large low income communities, urban areas like Florida and Texas.
There are not many incidents of killings of those with Concealed Carry licenses. Crime has gone down in states that have Concealed Carry.

Common Sense gun ownership, view of rights, gun training and safety, respect--these would help more.

Crime is complicated and nuanced--the ever present call for more gun control by Daley and Arne Duncan insult our intelligence and do nothing to really do nothing to fight crime. Arne Duncan and the CPS exploit kids and use a political agenda that does not stop killings. Daley has already spent tens of millions of taxpayers dollars losing in court and may now be affected by upcoming Supreme Court battles on the 2nd Amendment.

nicodemus 9:43 PM  

Who in the hell is Arne Duncan and what gives him the right to tell honest law-abiding citizens that they can only buy one gun a month?

Does the Illinois State Rifle Association tell Chicago Schools how to operate?? Does the media interview the NRA Director whenever they run an article on school reform??

In Stillman Valley, IL, someone successfully shot and killed an intruder in a home invasion. It happens all the time and we need to celebrate these stories. It is what the Second Amendment is all about.

Anonymous,  7:40 AM  

While I don't necessarily agree with all of Duncan's ideas, they do deserve to be heard.

Duncan isn't trying to tell honest, law abiding citizens how to run their lives -- he is petitioning his government for the redress of grievances - same as the IRSA or anyone else wishing to practice their First Amendment rights.

Let the Legislature debate. That's why they're there.

And as a FOID-carrying moderate who agrees that that the Constitution does protect an individual's right to bear arms, I am beyond skeptical of the notion that personal firearms owners repel home invaders "all the time."

How often do the children of gun owners get hold of their guns and hurt themselves or others? How often do vigilantes like that idiot in Texas chase robbers of someone else's house, and shoot them in the back and kill them over a VCR and soem jewelry?

My problem isn't with guns themselves, or any individual's right to own them for sport, personal protection or collection. My problem is with the rigidity of both sides of the argument, who both insist on taking the most extreme position available.

Glock21 2:14 PM  

More pointless legislation that does little to nothing to deal with the issues of poverty and violence that actually fuel the gang/gun problems in Chicago where handguns are already effectively banned and semi-auto "assault weapons" are rarely used in crimes unless you stretch the ever malleable definition of "assault weapon" to include things like police sidearms.

We already have background checks on gun sales here through the federal system, which of course does little to nothing to stop someone from buying a gun through illegal deals.

And limiting people to one gun a month pretty much only affects collectors/traders who have little interest in reselling them to gang members, murderers, etc or to anyone else who would do something idiotic with them that would only get the Brady Bunch screaming for more gun bans.

The 1 gun a month bill is probably the only one that even comes close to reasonable, but people purchasing multiple handguns are already flagged by the feds, and the crooks are already finding ways around them (not surprising for people who would break dozens of laws on the State and federal level by arming violent gang members and children to make a buck.) Further it would lack any effectiveness below the federal level since the gun runners are already going on multi-state sprees as reported in the Trib a year or two back.

But hey, I'm sure the big concern is making sure they aren't pointlessly violating fundamental liberties while ignoring the real problems behind the violence. I'm sure it's just because we don't have enough Democratic control of our government to bring about the "utopia."

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