The need to regulate guns is growing

Opinion: Columns

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By Maarten Bosland

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Twenty-three firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition, all legally purchased by someone who passed background checks — that is what was used in the massacre in Las Vegas. At least 11 of the guns were semiautomatic, all fitted with legally available so-called "bump fire stocks," turning them into fully automatic weapons. And there were numerous large-capacity magazines, also legally available. No one in his or her right mind would think that purchasing this arsenal should be constitutionally protected, yet it is — by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The perpetrator did not violate any laws or regulations amassing this weaponry and transporting it to the hotel from which he fired. 

In 2008, a 5-4 majority of the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the handgun bans that were in place in Washington DC, stating that "the Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home." Yet the Supreme Court indicated that "like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited" and that "it is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose." In 2010, the Supreme Court in essence invalidated similar gun regulations in Chicago and, yes, our own Oak Park (since 1983). This 5-4 majority decision again stated that certain firearms restrictions are assumed permissible. 

Thus, local, state, and federal governments can put in place regulations on gun and ammunition sales and gun ownership. The question is whether such regulations could have prevented the Las Vegas massacre and whether they would reduce gun-related violence and suicides in general. I would argue they would, and I firmly believe that every life saved or injury prevented justifies putting such firearm regulations in place. However, reductions in gun regulation have outnumbered increases in the past several years.

Oak Parkers have overwhelmingly voted in support of non-binding referenda related to gun regulation measures in the last three years. So have River Foresters and the rest of Cook County. So the next question is what can we, the people of Oak Park, do? Our local government and state and federal representatives are all in favor of stricter gun regulation measures, so putting pressure on them will not change things beyond showing our support for their positions. 

Two weeks ago, in this Journal [Do not stand idly by, Viewpoints, Oct. 11,], John Barrett suggested things that you can do: Get involved in groups and organizations that pursue stricter gun regulations at the local, state, and national level; and support legislation such as a requirement that gun dealers in Illinois be licensed by the state to enable restrictions on dealers that supply most of the firearms used in gun violence in Chicagoland. 

Let's get to work!

Maarten Bosland, an Oak Park resident, is a member of Gun Responsibility Advocates, which encourages gun owners to accept the increased responsibilities that go along with gun rights.  

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Ray Simpson  

Posted: October 31st, 2017 2:19 PM

@ Bruce Kline - I am just as dedicated to ending senseless gun violence as any of the gun grabber group. I am also aware that a failure to isolate the evil doers from the shooting enthusiast is a disservice to good citizens. More laws that go unenforced are a wast of time and money. The good citizen gun owner will swallow hard and add the new requirement to his list of obligations. The bad guy who is the core of the problem just laughs and changes nothing. Going after the bad guys is never easy and a lenient court system just adds to the problem. This is a societal problem not a hardware problem.

Bruce Kline  

Posted: October 31st, 2017 1:47 PM

Ray: It seems to me that the gun violence problem's solution - if any - has to be within a certain context and acknowledgment of certain realities. Those advocating "broad" gun rights have to acknowledge that while a gun per se does not kill people guns serve as force amplifiers: namely a gun can make a person intent on killing much more deadly than if he (or she) did not have a gun. As an ultimate example, the Las Vegas killer would not have been able to do what he did with just a knife for example (or a revolver for that matter). On the other hand, those seeking more gun control have to present solutions within the following context: the 2nd amendment is a reality ... get over it, there are over 300 million guns owned by private citizens in the US, and finally, address the underlying pathological behavior that permits or encourages gun violence. Perhaps, in 50 years, there will be a cultural change - as happened with cigarettes for instance - whereby the behavior underlying much of what we have seen recently will have changed. But I do agree with you Ray, it is very difficult to have a meaningful rational argument about these issues because of the ad hominem attacks and emotional - rather than rational - discourse. Impossible in fact.

Ray Simpson  

Posted: October 31st, 2017 8:42 AM

@Ramona - Welcome to the "Gun Rights" team in arguing for some basic intelligence in reducing mindless gun felony violence. I would support a mandated higher standard for reducing charges, bail and sentencing where firearms are involved. We will get the argument about "cost to keep thugs in jail" but, the DOJ tells us that an armed felon will commit a gun related crime every 28 days. Give him 10 years minimum and that is 130 crimes that didn't happen, 130 police investigations that were not required, countless innocents who were not at risk. 130 court cases that were not required not to overlook the loss of personal property and safety. The least ignorant of this violent sector of our society might wake up to the risks and discover that there might be a better route to old age, that might extend beyond middle age.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: October 30th, 2017 12:34 PM

Yeah yeah yeah Ray. Here's what I hate- arrogant people who earn $75 million representing the interests of foreign governments, who then try to evade the taxes. Drumpf's former campaign manager is charged with conspiracy against the United States of America. That ain't "white collar," pal. That's a major felony. The shadow's starting to fall on your guy. Enjoy.

Ramona Lopez  

Posted: October 30th, 2017 12:22 PM

At the end of the day, bad guys are bad because they don't follow the rules (laws). Obviously, strict gun laws do NOT keep guns out of the hands of criminals. That's what make them criminals. Drug laws don't keep drugs out of the hands of addicts. I would just hate to see the United States "declare war " on guns. It would turn out like the war on poverty, drugs and terror. All have the exact opposite effect of their intended purpose.

Ray Simpson  

Posted: October 30th, 2017 11:23 AM

@ Dwyer so we see Paul Manafort has been indited for what are mostly "White Collar" crimes and no mention of Donald Trump or his campaign. What Mueller has done is open a window to investigate Mueller, Comey, Rosenstein, Hillary and BHO for the Russia Uranium one deal that proves how politically corrupt this gang of thieves really are. You are joined by your fellow Trump (Correct spelling if you are interested in journalistic accuracy) hater Maxine Waters in trying to turn any event into an impeachable event. Since you have such visceral hatred for our president I assume you do not have one of those silly "Hate has no Place" signs on your front lawn.

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: October 29th, 2017 7:00 AM

That's right, Ray. Anyone to the left of Bob Corker just has "talking points," while the the goofs on the right have all the ideas, in your mindset. Btw, looks like they're preparing to put some bad people in jail soon. Maybe the word will get around. .

Ray Simpson  

Posted: October 28th, 2017 10:32 PM

Don Peterson is actually looking at the problem and trying to find a solution. Dwyer is just unfolding his talking points and sounding like a broken record. The NRA has fought a national gun registry and the courts have agreed with them. How would tagging explosives impact illicit gun use unless you agree with Bill Clinton's Surgeon General J. Elders who proposed that we forget about guns and start to focus like a laser beam on "Safer bullets" Don Petersons suggestions would make a difference from day one at a minimum cost. Put bad people in jail and don't let them out till they are to old to hurt anyone. The word would get around

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: October 28th, 2017 1:10 PM

Great idea, Don. Problem is, the NRA has fought this, just like they've fought putting identifying chemical "tags" on explosives that would make tracing explosives used in crimes back to their manufacture, and sellers. But by all means, keep blaming Democrats, It's easy on you than actually thinking.

Don Petersen from Maywood  

Posted: October 28th, 2017 12:26 PM

According to the FBI annual UCR report, violent crime nationally is at 40 year low, in spite of over 100 million gun owners, 16 million with carry permits. The only exception of course, being a bump up in a handful of Democrat run cities, like Chicago, Baltimore, Camden, Oakland, etc. (only a coincidence I'm sure). But you seem to "feel" that something must be done. OK, let's start with tracking the prosecution rate for straw purchases from legal gun stores. Then we can track the sentencing patterns for those criminals and how much of their actual sentence is served. There's a good start to addressing the crux of the problem, criminals.

Ray Simpson from Oak Park  

Posted: October 25th, 2017 9:00 AM

"Lets get to work" A dog chasing his own tail believes he is accomplishing great things! 60%+ of gun related deaths are suicide, those people are beyond reason and intend no harm to anyone else. As I pointed out beyond reason. 30%+ are deaths by legal police activities and citizens defending house, home and family. The small percentage of people left couldn't care less about "responsibility and reason" They are outside of civil society and dance to their own music. Our society has tried to give them everything and failed miserably! This is a societal problem - not a gun issue. Chicago has the regulations you pine for and no one in the world holds their record up as a shining success story. Again I state that if we would direct our energy toward solving the "Why" rather than the "How" we might gain some ground! For a year I sat , as a rights proponent, listening to the solutions offered by the "responsibilities" group. That was a waste of time, as is this NON SOLUTION! This is all hand wringing claptrap designed to "Do something - so we don't have to do anything that might be hard, self critical or produce any inconvenience in our own lives!" Enough with the NEW LAWS - our courts will ignore those solutions just like the preceding thousands of laws on the books already.

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