It is true that I did not "sign on" to Ken Trainor et al's endless list of demands that limit and restrict my constitutional rights [Gun rights with responsibilities, Viewpoints, Dec. 4]. Early on I asked what was the objective and goal of our groups meeting — a question that was never answered to my satisfaction. I had hoped that we would dedicate our effort to creating a short, well-crafted position statement that the village board could adopt as its official position related to firearms in our town.
To that end, I outlined a three-point plan that would not conflict with constitutional rights, but rather just formalize a position. Essentially, I proposed:
1) The village acknowledges its citizens' Second Amendment rights and commits to enforcing existing federal, state and local laws related to purchase, possession and use of firearms.
2) The village commits to a zero tolerance policy toward firearm violence and crime and will be proactive in prosecuting gun-related crimes committed in our community. A representative of Oak Park would be present, in court, to demand maximum punishment for anyone who uses a firearm illegally in our village. The village will publicize the names of judges and prosecutors who let criminals "off the hook."
3) The village supports and promotes firearm safety training for any citizen who would like to participate. It is suggested that a range of programs exist that are taught by NRA-certified instructors and acknowledged to be the "gold standard."
I believe that this is a reasonable, cost-effective objective, within the scope of our group, that would meet legal muster and give the village board a consensus position. The idea was deemed to be pap and not considered. Rather, a laundry list of regulations that impact only legitimate gun owners and sport shooters was the product of the Trainor troopers. The multi-page grand-plan document reported by Ken Trainor et al was supposed to be the brilliant, ground-breaking, well conceived document that communities all over the United States could use as a framework for their own ordinances.
If you excise sentiment, factual misrepresentations, legal errors and inconsistencies and remove everything that is already covered by existing law, this document is a hollow shell that accomplishes none of their thinly veiled objectives. Unfortunately, the communities of our country will probably just roll their eyes and exclaim, "There they go again," that screwy Oak Park "tilting more windmills."
You cannot solve the football-injury problem by altering the National Basketball Association scoring rules.
The pro-Second Amendment group did not generate a list of regulations because our position was and is that the people who commit gun violence and crime are not swayed or deterred by any list of rules. They are, by definition, outside of the law. We feel that until the existing 22,000+ laws are enforced, what impact will another list of demands make on an already apathetic legal system?
My purpose in participating was to develop a clear village firearms policy and prevent our Second Amendment rights from being abused and illegally denied for another 30 years.
I believe that the problem is gun violence, not gun ownership, and we owe it to our community to clarify that distinction and act reasonably.
Ray Simpson was a member of the recently disbanded Gun Rights and Responsibilities Committee.