Universal background checks: the details please

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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The Oak Park Township recently approved placement of two referendums on the 2014 ballot. I can't find an explanation of how either one would have any practical effect other than to make some Oak Parkers feel good about themselves.

The proposal to declare Oak Park a "Trans-Pacific Partnership free zone" is puzzling since Oak Park has great difficulty dealing with business expansion within its own borders, let alone internationally!

The proposal to support "universal background checks, no exceptions" is similarly puzzling. For example, how exactly would universal background checks have prevented the two murders recently covered in the Wednesday Journal in the past few weeks?

One was an ex-North Chicago cop who used murder to deal with an affair no longer to his liking. The other involved guns provided to a gang member known by federal agents.

Universal background checks would have had no effect on either of these murders. I would welcome any explanation as to the details of the referendum.

How would the referendum have had any effect on these two murders? What am I missing?

I would rather take actions to decrease gun violence by criminals and the dangerous mentally ill than take actions to merely feel good about myself.

Remember to vote!

John Erickson

Oak Park

Editor's note: The advisory referendum on the Nov. 4 ballot states:

Shall the Federal Government enact legislation requiring universal background checks of criminal and mental health history record information for all transfers of ownership or possession of firearms, including transfers which occur at gun shows, over the Internet and privately, as a step toward preventing the ownership or possession of firearms by criminals and those with serious mental illnesses, and as a step toward preventing illegal gun trafficking altogether?

Reader Comments

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John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: June 18th, 2014 9:15 PM

In 2008, at the Oak Park Township Annual Meeting an advisory referendum for a village living wage was approved at OPT and appeared on the November (Obama election) ballot. The group that initiated the referendum (Democratic Socialists of America) immediately appeared at an Oak Park Village Board Meeting and requested the drafting of an ordinance. The board chose to assign a Living Wage Study to the Community Relations Commission. After more than a year, two reports (a majority and minority) were sent to the board. The two reports were fully conflicted. The board accepted both reports while choosing to not take action on either. The commission's task was ended. Last Monday at the Oak Park Village Board Meeting the same organization that sponsored the referendum request in 2008 asked the board to conduct another review. The board has scheduled a meeting to discuss the feasibility of a Living Wage Ordinance. There are perils on advisory referendums. Perhaps the OPV board should put an LW referendum on the November ballot and give the voters another shot at the subject.

Boulanger, OPT Supervisor from Oak Park  

Posted: June 4th, 2014 10:32 AM

Clarification: To have an advisory referendum placed on the ballot, a person needs to gather 15 signatures of Oak Park registered voters on a petition with the exact wording of the advisory referendum and submit it to the Township Clerk by March 1 for placement on the agenda of the Annual Meeting held the second Tuesday of April. Oak Park registered voters present at the meeting vote approval. Increasing the signatures requirement has been rejected at the state level.

Friar Tuck from Oak Park  

Posted: June 4th, 2014 9:54 AM

If memory serves, it takes all of 50 signatures on a petition to mandate the township to place an advisory referendum on the ballot. I'm all for smaller, localized govt, but this is a truly flawed process that does nothing except create typical OP symbolism over substance. It's used by a handful of Orwellian leftists to push their agenda, & succeeds only in making us look like the useful idiots most of us are. Stop the nonsense.

David Boulanger from Oak Park  

Posted: June 4th, 2014 9:38 AM

One point of clarification in John Erickson's letter: It is by citizen vote at the Oak Park Township Annual Meeting that advisory referenda are placed on the ballot of the next election. The Township board has no role in this action.

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: June 3rd, 2014 11:15 PM

We need some form of Background Check legislation but it is not very long, complex and a confusing referendum being placed on the ballot. Fortunately, it an "advisory" vote. .

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