Gun reform: a good start

Opinion: Editorials

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It's time. Time for the state of Illinois and the rest of the country to do more than have an honest conversation about gun violence in this country. And it was long past time for elected officials to do something about it.

The mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that killed 17 students and staff members and wounded dozens of others has again prompted a nationwide debate over gun regulation. 

Last week, after years of dragging their feet, the Illinois General Assembly finally took action, approving several proposals intended to reduce gun violence. The House approved measures that would: ban the sale of bump stocks (used to automate semi-automatic weapons); require a 72-hour waiting period before assault weapons can be purchased (a minor inconvenience that could save many lives); and a ban on the sale of assault weapons to those under the age of 21. Those proposals still await approval in the Senate. We trust that the Governor will not deny the rising calls throughout this state, and the country, for good-faith, common-sense regulation that can have a real impact in reducing gun violence.

Perhaps the most important piece of legislation is the one headed to the governor's desk — long championed by Oak Park's state Sen. Don Harmon. Harmon has spent 15 years advocating for his Gun Dealer Licensing Act, which requires more comprehensive licensing, reporting and training of gun dealers and their employees, which will help weed out the "bad apples," those dealers who sell a disproportionate number of firearms used in crimes. 

We urge Gov. Bruce Rauner to sign Harmon's bill and the others when they get to his desk. These measures are a start, but just a start, in the effort to keep guns out of the hands of people who do the most harm. 

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