We will not give up on sensible gun legislation

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By State Sen. Don Harmon

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At Thanksgiving, we find ourselves blessed if we are able to gather with loved ones for a delicious meal and the simple gift of being together. It is also a time to think of and pray for those among us who struggle and for those gatherings that have been cruelly altered by loss. This awareness gives deeper meaning to the occasion and provides renewed purpose to strive on against challenges yet overcome. 

This year and this month, our nation should be especially mindful of those gatherings altered tragically by gun violence across the country. It is not a new problem, obviously, especially in our area, but the failure to reduce these tragedies is a tragedy of our own making. We have enacted important measures but more is urgently needed to curb the flow of guns to our streets and save innocent lives. 

But I am not deterred. In the spring, the Illinois Senate approved my legislation to reduce gun violence by licensing gun dealers. I have introduced legislation similar to this every year for 15 years since I first came to elected office. We had hoped the House of Representatives would approve the measure in early November during veto session, but now predict that vote will happen early next year. Change is overdue and required, but with 15 years of striving behind me, I am not discouraged by a few more months. 

Partners with me in this call for action — grassroots activists, moms, dads, pastors and neighbors — are coming together demanding common-sense gun safety legislation as never before. Some have been fighting with me for a long time. I am thankful for the tremendous partners and volunteers that have contributed to this effort. That hard work and commitment is paying off, and the atmosphere is changing. The Senate approved my legislation with bipartisan support. I believe the House will do the same. 

No matter how long it takes, we will get there. When that day comes, we will be humbled by years of senseless and preventable loss, but also, thankful. 

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Bruce Kline  

Posted: November 23rd, 2017 4:48 PM

Mr. McCoy. it would be nice if we could query the Founders in regard to what they meant, not just for the 2nd, but for many other aspects of the Constitution. But of course, we can't. So the SCOTUS is by default the surrogate: it is the final arbiter and interpreter of the Constitution and "what they - the Founders - meant." That is the reality. And that is the way it is. Now, as the SCOTUS pointed out in their historic precedent setting decision in 2008, an individual right to bear arms does not preclude reasonable restrictions ... just like the right to free speech, under the First, is not absolute either. The difference of course is that the First has been subject to almost 100 years of case law, where as the Second ... what?... only a fraction of that amount. And by the way, I am not a gun owner .as you seem to imply ... never was. I have a FOID card, but never owned a gun. Belief in certain rights under the Constitution doesn't require one to personally exercise those rights. I have many personal reasons for choosing not to exercise the right to bear arms. That doesn't mean I am hostile to those who choose to exercise their rights under the 2nd.

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: November 23rd, 2017 2:41 PM

Bruce Kline, wouldn't it be nice if we could talk to the founding father's who wrote the constitution and ask what they would right now compared to the time the wrote it. It is interesting how people can interpret things to benefit many their own way of thinking. If I was going to interpret what the founding father's would say now with all of the guns is they would say this is not right and we need to have a limit on how many guns people really need to protect themselves and also people giving a real purpose of why they like collecting guns so they can buy as many as they want. It only takes one gun and one bullet to kill some one if you know how to keep yourself composed under fire and make your shot count. There is no such thing as trying to aim for a leg or arm and if I recall correctly you are a doctor so you know the bleed out rate of even hitting a leg in the arm and also what damage hitting a vital organ and the probabilities of the person shot has to live. Maybe you could help other gun owners know where to shoot and become better with their weapon's instead of just firing in fear and missing the intended bad guy they are trying to shoot out. That type of skill takes a lot of practice and targets at gun ranges are different then in real life situations. Also, where are these gun owners going that they have to fear for their own safety

Bruce Kline  

Posted: November 23rd, 2017 1:30 PM

Dominick: Much has changed since 1993. No matter what "solutions" are proposed those solutions will have to conform to the following realities. First there are over 300 million guns in the USA, probably more than any place on earth. That kinda makes a gun ban logisitically implausible. Next and most importantly, and again unique amongst countries, the 2nd amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms (irrespective of membership in a "militia"). That, since 2008. Clearly what transpired in 1993 does not apply.

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: November 23rd, 2017 12:46 PM

Dominick, as much as I tried to understand what you are writing about, I just couldn't figure it out. I do know when the word bump stock came out after the terrorist attack in Las Vegas, I had no idea what a bump stock was although I was able to figure out how a device could be made very easily and how a bump stock would work. It is absolutely ridiculous to think that every one is in danger of having their doors kicked in either by people taking away your gun's or some bad guy. Most people can't even think much about how to keep them selves safe with the car jackings. They leave their car's running when not behind the steering wheel. A car is a weapon and can do a lot of harm although getting a driver's license is now becoming more difficult because they also do a back ground check. It is a good idea and does not invade a person's privacy unlike hackers who enter servers and take information without any security. If you think they are after you, who ever they are, then get off the internet and also out of banking, credit cards and anything else that requires taking away your rights to being off the chart

Dominick Ahrens  

Posted: November 23rd, 2017 11:21 AM

US Rep Jan Schakowsky: We're on a roll now, and I think we've got to take the?"you know, we're gonna push as hard as we can and as far as we can." "So the assault weapons ban is just the beginning?" "Oh absolutely."

Dominick Ahrens  

Posted: November 23rd, 2017 11:18 AM

Tommy McCoy - so because they haven't actually gotten to kicking in doors it's all hyperbole, and intent doesn't count? Given the left's claim that "doing something" counts just as much as measurable results, I disagree, and offer the following: "Banning guns is an idea whose time has come." Joseph Biden in an AP interview as US Senator. " "We are beyond the stage of restrictive licensing and uniform laws. We are at the point in time and terror when nothing short of a strong uniform policy of domestic disarmament will alleviate the danger which is crystal clear and perilously present. Let us take the guns away from the people. Exemptions should be limited to the military, the police and those licensed for good and sufficient reasons." --- Patrick V. Murphy, New York City Police Commissioner; "Mr. Speaker, I rise to introduce the Public Health and Safety Act of 1993 on behalf of myself and nine of my colleagues: Mel Reynolds, Bill Clay, Jerry Nadler, Eleanor Holmes Norton, John Lewis, Nydia Velazquez, Ron Dellums, Carrie Meek, and Alcee Hastings. This legislation, first introduced in the Senate by Senator John Chafee, would prohibit the transfer or possession of handguns and handgun ammunition, except in limited circumstances... The Public Health and Safety Act of 1993 represents a moderate, middle-of-the-road approach to handgun control which deserves the support of all members of Congress who want to stop gun murders now. --- Hon. Major R. Owens (Rep. NY, Introduction of the Public Health and Safety Act of 1993, Extension of Remarks - September 23, 1993.; "I shortly will introduce legislation banning the sale, manufacture or possession of handguns (with exceptions for law enforcement and licensed target clubs)? . It is time to act. We cannot go on like this. Ban them!" - John Chafee as U.S. Senator from Rhode Island;

Dominick Ahrens  

Posted: November 23rd, 2017 11:12 AM

Oh, and "Grassroots activists"? Do you mean the Gotham Pimp's paid oral service girls, led by "stay at home Shannon" who (under her maiden name) a mere 4 years previous to founding "her" group was named one of PRWeek's "forty under 40" of noteable public relations professionals? The same "mommy" who was the Vice President of Corporate Communications for WellPoint, the country's largest health benefits company, and before that the Director of Global Communications for GE Healthcare, the Director of Global Public and Corporate Affairs for Monsanto, and Public Affairs Officer for Missouri Governor Mel Carnahan, the Missouri House of Representatives, and the Missouri Department of Economic Development? The same "mommy" ferried to rallies to rid the world of guns in SUV limos with NY plates, escorted by armed security?

Bill Dwyer  

Posted: November 23rd, 2017 11:03 AM

The only mention of "unreasonable gun nut" here is by Ray Simpson. He seems to make such Freudian slips on a regular basis.

Dominick Ahrens  

Posted: November 23rd, 2017 10:54 AM

Using terms like "common sense" is a groupthink tactic. It forces anyone who dissents to the defensive position to prove their ideas are neither uncommon nor nonsensical. What is common sense? A law that would actually reduce gun violence - which this law will not, given that the criminals committing these crimes - 99%+ already convicted felons and/or under 21 - aren't buying their guns at local gun stores. Passing a law that won't solve the problem doesn't sound very "common sense" - unless you're a career politician where the image of "doing something" counts more than actually getting results.

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: November 23rd, 2017 10:50 AM

Ray Simpson, it did not say I called you a gun nut. That is what you think people are calling you because you want to arm yourself in the event of an attack. If I recall, you served during the Korean war, my service was during the Viet Nam conflict which everyone now calls a war. This is what I think you are saying when you say willing to listen to the guy in the tower. You know how serious it was in the Military, and how responsible the Military was in teaching how to handle a weapon. They are in the business of weapons so they know what they are doing. In civilian life, I know gun owners who will hand a gun over to another person without disabling the weapon or opening the slide .I recall a story of a Police Officer being shot by another Police Officer because of poor safety training. What I really don't understand is when you check websites that have comments from responsible gun owners how they talk about their weapon with each other and the importance of what type they carry when just going to the grocery store. Remember this Ray, when you left the Military, the weapon did not come home with you. Also the thousands of laws you talk about are not real. There are very few limitations on being able to get a weapon and just like the Village talks about all different types of topics with out any resolution, so will the gun conversation go on without any resolution, and remember, no one in the government has even come close to taking your gun away. If you can least 10 rules that you are required to go through out of the thousands as you said, go ahead and least just 10 requirements

Ray Simpson  

Posted: November 23rd, 2017 12:33 AM

@ Tommy McC - I am confused by your assertion that I am an unreasonable gun nut. I have consistently made 2 arguments and neither has even been addressed by the regulators gang. First I ask what new law will do more than the several thousand laws that are currently being ignored by our courts. I contend that if we take a tough love approach and start convicting and jailing bad people who intimidate others with guns we will make a difference. Second I ask why we spend so much energy anguishing over HOW people harm others and ignore the WHY they do it. The HOW/Why issue requires looking at societal, educational, family and welfare issues and do some painful soul searching. The interesting issue here is that we are all seeking the same end result, elimination of gun violence. Those of us who participate in shooting sports recognize the dangers of our activity and willingly "listen to the guy in the tower" We also live with FOID Cards, FBI background checks and 4473 forms and understand the reason for their existence. We are active in the most highly regulated sport in the world and take umbrage with those who question our "responsibility" No, I do not cower in the corner fearful of every shadow, but, if I did I know that I am a much better shot than any thug.

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: November 22nd, 2017 7:20 PM

Ray, there use to be a lot of places that sold BB's and once that was stopped the reduction of broken windows went down. Now it seems people are getting their BB's some where else are are causing a lot of damage in Oak Park and Forest Park. As for your gun and hammer theory, you need to go out to your garage to get a hammer which by then you may calm down. With the way you write about gun's it seems you keep yours always on you because you live with the thought that at any time some one may try and attack you. Stop being afraid of people. Add the total number of people in the World and get a real percentage of what your risk really is of being attacked

Ray Simpson  

Posted: November 22nd, 2017 2:10 PM

@ Brian - we must shut down Ace Hardware because they sell hammers there. If we can prevent one bent nail _ - - -

Bruce Kline  

Posted: November 21st, 2017 11:31 PM

Benjamin: Well said. I absolutely agree. But that is the Senator's usual playbook. More regs, more taxes, more bureaucracy with NO meaningful results. The Senator's solution is analogous to "ready, shoot, aim."

Brian Slowiak  

Posted: November 21st, 2017 10:41 PM

Please Senator Harmon,and company, please shut down a legal business making a legal transaction and the item sold is used improperly. Please, please, and accept the consequence.

Benjamin Hill  

Posted: November 21st, 2017 10:06 PM

Could someone explain how adding additional licensing restrictions on legal gun dealers is going to "curb the flow of guns to our streets and save innocent lives."? How that is a solution? Seriously. According to the FBI, 60% of guns used in crimes in IL were from out of state. A 2015 study by the University of Chicago suggested that only 11% of guns involved in Chicago crimes were purchased through federally licensed gun dealers. So is this legislation an attempt to decrease that 11%? Somehow those federally licensed dealers already know that the purchaser is buying to commit a crime? We do know something - 17% of the guns used in crimes in Chicago were sold by 3 of the state's gun dealers according to the Sun Times. If we know this, just shut those businesses down. We don't need more infrastructure and overhead of a state dealer licensing council comprised of big box sporting retailers to do this. This feels a lot like the "soda tax" - allegedly for health reasons, but is really another attempt at getting in the taxpayer's pocket.

Ray Simpson  

Posted: November 21st, 2017 3:47 PM

What will you do to explain getting into legal gun dealers pockets for millions in taxes and fees and show zero improvement in violence data? After all of these years you should have discovered that the gun violence trade does not go through the legitimate gun dealers. Perhaps you have found a way to license and tax the convicted felon who sells illegal guns from his car trunk to others who are prohibited from buying, owning or even handling a firearm. If your effort ignores that group of buyers and sellers you have set out on a fifteen year fools journey. We have more than enough laws on the books that are ignored by our court system and another layer of incompetent bureaucracy will only cost more and do less - if that is possible. Just once ask yourself why people harm one another and forget how they do it.

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