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Police: Boy accidentally shot in Dolton home

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By Karen Jordan | ABC 7 | Posted: August 31, 2010, 9:25 pm |

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August 31, 2010 (HARVEY, Ill.) (WLS) — Police say the shooting death of an 8-year-old boy in the south suburbs appears to have been an accident by the victim’s 11-year-old brother.

On Tuesday night, Kyree Davis suffered a fatal gunshot wound while at home with his older brother. Dolton police say it appears the gun was accidentally discharged by the 11-year-old. Kyree’s death was ruled a homicide.

Dolton police and the Department of Children and Family Services, which has had no prior involvement with the family, are investigating.

No foul play is suspected and no charges are expected, police say.

“He was a child who was just blooming and blossoming in school and doing very well,” said Supt. Jayne Purcell, Dolton District 148.

Superintendent Purcell says Kyree Davis was well liked at Harriet Tubman School where he was a third grader. District social workers were at the school Wednesday to help teachers and classmates cope with his death.

Neighbors say they are still in shock.

“Tragic. Unbelievable. You know, it was heartfelt because it could easily have been anyone else,” said Lena Johnson, neighbor.

Dolton police are investigating the gun, which was recovered from the home.

Meanwhile, gun control advocates say the death is a tragic reminder of the danger of not storing a gun properly in a house.

“What you might think you are doing in order to perhaps secure your home, oftentimes ends in a tragedy that you never would have envisioned happening,” said Tom Mannard, Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence.

Kyree Davis’ 11-year-old brother also attends Harriet Tubman School. The superintendent says that social workers will be there for as long as they are needed.

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New gun rules go into effect Mondayicon_wls_byline

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July 11, 2010 (CHICAGO) (WLS) — Chicago’s new gun-control ordinance goes into effect Monday, banning gun owners from stepping out of their homes with a handgun.

The new ordinance also bans gun shops in Chicago.

Gun advocates have already launched a legal battle against the law.

The new ordinance has not gone into effect yet, but two lawsuits were filed last week.

One lawsuit comes from four Chicago residents who want to carry their handguns outside their home. Another comes from a gun shop owner who wants to open a store in Lincoln Park.

The city admits that Chicago’s ordinance goes further than any other city in the country.

Gun shops are busy, and starting Monday they are likely to get even busier. Chicago’s new gun ordinance will require training in a classroom and on the firing range.

“There is just a lot of curiosity about what they have to learn, the cost and all that,” said Don Mastriani of Elmwood Park’s Illinois Gun Works.

The phones have been ringing off the hook Illinois Gun Works ever since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Chicago’s gun ban and since Chicago’s city council fired back with an ordinance restricting the use of a handgun.

Some gun owners who take the 2nd amendment very seriously say any of type restriction is a violation of their rights, and they argue that limiting the use does not curb violence.

“The criminals are always going to get guns even if they try and take away guns from us,” said gun owner Jim Watts.

Besides training, the new ordinance bans gun sales in the city, limits permit holders to one operable handgun in a home, prohibits guns in garages, porches and yards, and allows the purchase of one handgun a month.

Several of these provisions are already being challenged. Some experts say Chicago is legally pushing the envelope.

“Registration, I think, will be upheld; training requirements are likely to be upheld,” said Harold Krent of the Kent School of Law. “But there have been no settled judicial opinions about one operable gun per household, about not having a gun in an attached garage, about not having any kind of gun stores within the jurisdictions.”

With lawsuits already in the works, the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence is confident that several of the new provisions will be upheld in the courts.

“What the city council is trying to do is try and minimize the risk that handguns will pose to people in Chicago while respecting the rights of individuals who want to have a handgun in their home for self defense,” said Thomas Mannard of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence.

While the new gun ordinance may be controversial among gun owners, it was not with Chicago’s aldermen.

The council unanimously passed the ordinance by a vote of 45-0.

While the U.S. Supreme Court said citizens have a right to keep firearms at home, the court did not establish any standards for gun restrictions.

Experts expect some of these lawsuits to make their way from lower courts eventually to the U.S. Supreme Court.

(Copyright ©2010 WLS-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

06/28/10

Supreme Court Leaves Chicago Gun Ban in Doubt, Extends Gun Rights to Entire Nation

FOX Chicago News | Posted: Monday, 28 Jun 2010, 8:12 AM CDT |

Chicago – The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the decision in McDonald vs. Chicago Monday, paving the way for Chicago’s gun ban to be overturned.

In 2008, the Supreme Court struck down Washington, D.C.’s handgun ban, ruling the Second Amendment protects individual rights, but the decision applied only to federal jurisdictions such as Washington and did not impact handgun bans enforced by cities such as Chicago.  Lawsuits were quickly filed challenging Chicago and Oak Park’s bans.

The Supreme Court began hearing arguments on Chicago’s gun ban in March, with five of justices who overturned the D.C. ban in 2008 still on the court.

Monday, in a 5-4 decision they held that the Second Amendment applies to states as well as the federal government through the Fourteenth Amendment, which was the question in the appeal before the court.

Justice Samuel Alito said the Second Amendment right “applies equally to the federal government and the states.”

The case will be sent back to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals for a decision on whether Chicago’s gun ban is constitutional. It is likely to be thrown out based on the holding in the D.C. case, according to experts.

Chicago’s gun ban dates back to 1982 and outlaws ownership of handguns, even for self defense.

The court ruling does leave room open for less severe restrictions.

Alito noted that the Second Amendment is fully binding on states and cities and “limits (but by no means eliminates) their ability to devise solutions to social problems that suit local needs and values.”

Daley said he is disappointed but not surprised at Monday’s ruling by the Supreme Court.

“I want the people of Chicago to understand that even as we rewrite Chicago’s handgun ordinance, we will continue to pursue every avenue that reduces the chance of violence involving a handgun or any other weapon in Chicago,” Daley said.

The City Council Police and Fire Committee has been considering ways to amend Chicago’s gun law to add restrictions, such as strict registration and insurance requirements, in preparation for the ruling. They’ve heard testimony from experts on how to adjust the law to the ruling.

In past years, thousands of guns have been taken off the streets with gun turn-in programs, but crime involving guns remains high.

One alderman from the committee said she is not concerned that in the future, more guns will be on the streets.

“We had a law. I don’t think we can do more now for the ones who have been law-abiding citizens, citizens who were wanting to get a gun, trying to abide by the law. Now they’re able to go freely and purchase a gun,” Ald. Emma Mitts (37th) said.

Mayor Daley has said the city will consider new gun laws if the high court overturns the present ban. He is a staunch supporter of the ban and has long been vocal against guns.

“So, we’re working to rewrite our ordinance in a reasonable and responsible way to protect 2nd amendment rights and [also] protects Chicagoans from gun violence. We’ll publicly propose our new ordinance soon.”

South Side resident Otis McDonald became an advocate for gun ownership in Chicago after he was burglarized for a fifth time, becoming the lead plaintiff in the case before the Supreme Court.


06/29/10

High court shoots down guns bans similar to Chicago’s

By KEVIN McDERMOTT | www.stltoday.com | Posted: Tuesday, June 29, 2010 1:30 am |

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There appears to be little doubt that Chicago residents will be allowed to keep guns in their homes as the result of a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling Monday.

Whether people across Illinois will eventually be allowed to carry them on the streets is still unclear.

In a decision that promises to scale back the gun control laws in Illinois and elsewhere that are among the nation’s strongest, the court ruled that the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms is binding on state and local governments, not just the federal government.

Gun control advocates conceded that the now-rare concept of a total local ban on gun ownership, like the one in Chicago, is effectively dead. “In terms of a ban on handguns, the battle is by and large over,” said Thomas Mannard, executive director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence.

In Chicago, Mayor Richard Daley expressed disappointment at the ruling, and he and other leaders began planning for the expected resumption of legal gun ownership in the city. Elsewhere in Illinois, both sides turned their attention to whether and how the ruling will affect that state’s continuing ban on carrying concealed weapons in public.

“Our work is not finished,” the Illinois State Rifle Association said in a statement.

After reviewing two of the toughest local gun ban statutes in the nation — in Chicago and in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park — the high court ruled 5-4 that the Second Amendment “applies equally to the federal government and the states.” The court split along familiar ideological lines, with five conservative-moderate justices in favor of gun rights and four liberals opposed. Chief Justice Roberts voted with the majority.

Pro-gun advocates immediately filed suit to nullify those two communities’ bans, based on the ruling.

The ruling leaves in place the power of cities to impose restrictions on gun ownership, such as requiring criminal background checks. Writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito specified that the decision “limits (but by no means eliminates) their ability to devise solutions to social problems that suit local needs and values.”

Gun control advocates seized on that language Monday.

“We are reassured that the Court has rejected, once again, the gun lobby argument that its ‘any gun, for anybody, anywhere’ agenda is protected by the Constitution,” Paul Helmke, president of the Washington-based Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said in a written statement. “There is nothing in today’s decision that should prevent any state or local government from successfully defending, maintaining, or passing, sensible, strong gun laws.”

While there appears to be general agreement that the ruling will nullify outright bans, there was immediate debate over how it might affect gun control laws that fall short of that.

Missouri has among the most permissive gun control laws in the nation, according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, with little if anything on the books that would seem likely to be affected by Monday’s ruling.

Illinois and Wisconsin, by contrast, are the only two states where it’s still completely illegal to carry concealed weapons in public. Illinois’ pro- and anti-gun lobbies quickly began assessing how the ruling could affect that restriction.

Gun control advocates say it doesn’t. “This (ruling) is specific to having a handgun in the home. We believe this in no way challenges Illinois laws” related to weapons in public, said Mannard, of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence.

But gun rights advocates believe the ruling gives them the ammunition they need to push Illinois toward a Missouri-style concealed-carry law.

The ruling ’says the Second Amendment is an individual right that state and local governments have to respect … (that) it’s fundamental. I think that’s going to carry over,” said Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association, who promised “a full push” on the concealed-carry issue in Illinois.

St. Clair County Sheriff Mearl Justus said he expected the court decision to provide “momentum for legislators to pass a state concealed-carry law.”

“This could really move that law forward,” said Justus, who supports the idea.

Steve King, owner of the Belleville Indoor Shooting Range, said the decision had an immediate and positive affect on his business. He sold seven handguns Monday, all to people who mentioned the ruling.

Two years ago, the court declared that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess guns, at least for purposes of self-defense in the home. That ruling applied only to federal laws. Monday’s ruling effectively extended that concept to state and local laws.

Justices John Paul Stevens and Stephen Breyer, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor, each wrote a dissent to Monday’s ruling. Stevens said it could prove “destructive — quite literally — to our nation’s communities and to our constitutional structure.”

The Associated Press and Nicholas J.C. Pistor and Patrick M. O’Connell of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.


Many Local Officials Back Supreme Court’s Monday Pro-Gun Ruling

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By STEPHEN ELLIOTT | [email protected] | Posted: Tuesday, June 28, 2010 9:25 pm |

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The Supreme Court on Monday ruled the Second Amendment applies to states and communities and ordered a federal appeals court to reconsider Chicago’s gun ban.

Justice Samuel Alito delivered the Supreme Court’s opinion in a 5-4 decision that, in effect, overturns gun bans in Chicago and Oak Park, Ill. Two years ago the court overturned a similar ban in the District of Columbia.

Alito made plain that local officials still have some leeway in crafting gun laws. He noted that the declaration that the Second Amendment is fully binding on states and cities “limits (but by no means eliminates) their ability to devise solutions to social problems that suit local needs and values.”

Justices John Paul Stevens and Stephen Breyer, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor, each wrote a dissent. Stevens said that, unlike the Washington case, Monday’s decision “could prove far more destructive — quite literally — to our nation’s communities and to our constitutional structure.”

The ruling leaves questions on what restrictions, if any, can be put on the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms for self-defense. The decision pleased gun advocates, although some noted restrictions should be a part of any new gun law.

Moline Police Officer Pat Moody, who has served in Moline’s Floreciente neighborhood for years, said Chicago’s situation offers a whole different set of problems than those in the Quad-Cities.

“I could see where a ban like that may be enforced in Chicago, because they have so many shootings all of the time,” he said. “Here in the Quad-Cities, for someone to be able to have a right to bear arms and have a handgun in their household, I think people should be able to do that.

“But there have to be rules to it — a FOID (firearm owners identification)card, maybe going to a range to qualify,”Officer Moody said. “I think, unfortunately, if a criminal wants to get a gun, he’s going to get a gun. That’s the way it is, unfortunately.”

Henry County State’s Attorney Terry Patton wasn’t surprised by the Supreme Court’s ruling. He added, however, there should be gun ownership restrictions to keep them out of the hands of people “who shouldn’t have them.

“They made it clear you can put reasonable restrictions on it (gun ownership),” Mr. Patton said. “That will be the argument now, what is reasonable. I’m thinking they can put fairly strict restrictions on guns.

“Remember, if you have a complete gun ban, only the criminals are going to have guns,” he said. “They don’t have to follow the law in the first place.”

Aledo Police Chief Terry Dove said he supports the Second Amendment and “absolutely”did not agree with Chicago’s 28-year-old gun ban.

“I think people have a right to have a legal firearm in their residence,”Chief Dove said. “I also support an appropriate amount of training, understanding, and when and how to use it (a handgun).”

Rock Island Police Chief Scott Harris said the courts will be “deciding this for a while,” but declined to say if he agreed with the ruling. Moline Police Chief Kim Hankins and East Moline Police Chief Victor Moreno could not be reached for comment.

Local politicians, however, were quick to offer opinions. Republican 17th Congressional District candidate Bobby Schilling saw two major victories in Monday’s Supreme Court ruling.

“First, it’s a great victory for law-abiding citizens,” he said. “Second, it’s a major victory against those who want to trample our constitutional rights.

“If they pull the Second Amendment rights away from the people, the criminals are still going to get guns,”Mr. Schilling said. “Ithink the founders knew what they were doing.”

While releasing a statement saying he supports the Second Amendment, U.S. Rep. Phil Hare, D-Rock Island, said he also supports “the right of jurisdictions like Chicago to reasonably regulate firearms while respecting the basic rights granted by the Constitution.

“Iexpected Chicago to amend its gun laws to abide by this decision while also keeping other measures in place to protect its citizens and law enforcement personnel from gun violence,”he said.

Dennis Ahern, Democratic candidate for 71st District state representative, in a statement said the ruling reinforced “our rights as citizens in Illinois. The right to keep and bear arms extends to Chicago.”

His Republican opponent, Rich Morthland, said he was pleased with the ruling and that “law-abiding citizens have a right to be able to protect themselves against violent criminals.”

Thom Mannard, executive director of Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, released a statement saying that while he fundamentally disagrees with the court’s decision, “this ruling affirms a host of effective laws and viable solutions to preventing gun violence.” Those solutions, he said, may include gun training, background checks and firearm registation.

“Chicago was right to enact its handgun ban in 1982, and Mayor Richard Daley was justified in ardently defending the law,” he said.

Saying he was disappointed with the ruling, Mayor Daley said officials already are rewriting the ordinance to meet the court’s gun rights guarantee and protect Chicago residents from gun violence.

Richard Pearson, president of the Illinois State Rifle Association, said that with the hurdle of a gun ban now cleared, the Second Amendment is on equal legal footing. He added he expects the ISRA to make its own push for laws that have been proposed in the past but have not cleared the legislature. That includes the long stalemated concealed carry law in Illinois.

The Associated Press and Illinois Statehouse News contributed to this story.


Secret weapon: Pending Illinois legislation could legalize concealed guns

By Kevin Barlow | [email protected] | Posted: Sunday, May 16, 2010 7:00 am |

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BLOOMINGTON — McLean County Sheriff Mike Emery has plenty to do.

“As sheriff, if you find yourself with a couple of minutes to sit down and return phone calls, that’s a slow day,” said Emery. “Most of the time, I am returning phone calls on my way to my next appointment.”

But as a supporter of pending legislation that would give Illinois residents the right to carry concealed weapons, Emery would not complain if some of the workload, as a byproduct of new laws, falls on his department.

Carry and conceal, or CCW, refers to the practice of carrying a handgun or other weapon in public in a concealed manner, either on one’s person or in close proximity.

“There are 48 states that currently have carry and conceal laws in place,” Emery said. “At this point, we can pick and choose what works best for the state of Illinois. You must have strict training certifications and adequate background checks. But at some point, the county sheriff departments would have to have some percentage of control to ensure it works for the benefit of everyone.”

Wisconsin is the only other state without a carry and conceal law on the books.

Earlier this month, an Illinois House committee pushed through three pieces of gun legislation, sending them to the full House for consideration. If approved, the package of laws would allow gun owners to have a proper, portable gun carrying case in which to transport their weapon. Opponents such as State Rep. Ed Sullivan, R-Mundelein, said the legislation is too vague.

“Judges all over the state would each make their own ruling on what is considered a proper, portable gun carrying case,” he said.

“One of the problems we have always had with proposed carry and conceal legislation is making it specific enough so there is no confusion about interpretation of the law,” said Jared Shoffner, a Dewitt County deputy who is running unopposed in the November election for DeWitt County sheriff. “I would support carry and concealed legislation, but part of the problem is how it is written and interpreted. We want to make sure that any legislation is the right step for law-abiding citizens and doesn’t allow criminals easier access.”

The bill’s sponsor, State Rep. Harry Osterman, D-Chicago, said that won’t happen — that measure would still prevent people with criminal records from owning firearms.

The Illinois Sheriff’s Association has endorsed carry and concealed legislation, even though specifics have yet to be ironed out.

“One of the main sticking points about the legislation is how it affects Cook County,” Emery said. “My thinking is that if that’s the case, then let’s write different legislation for Cook County. It seems to me, it’s that simple.”

Adding to the debate is a case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court on a challenge to Chicago’s existing ban on handguns. The court is expected to rule by late June.

Annual consideration

Carry and concealed weapons legislation is annually submitted and considered in Springfield. The current proposal is called the Family and Personal Protection Act and would allow the state to issue permits to carry concealed firearms after approval from a thorough application process. While the issue of CCW has been gaining more media attention, the bill isn’t expected to be considered in Illinois until at least November — if then.

Under the legislation, extensive background checks and mental evaluations would be required of every applicant seeking permit. There would be registration fees and gun owners would be required to attend training courses.

Ron Darnell, owner of Darnell Gun Works & Ranges just west of Bloomington, teaches such courses and said his clients are always asking about potential changes to the law.

“I wouldn’t know why anyone wouldn’t want a law to allow responsible citizens the right to carry a weapon,” Darnell said. “Statistics indicate the crime rate drops in states that enact carry and conceal laws. Who wants to start trouble with someone who might be carrying a weapon?”

Opponents argue the opposite and contend that even with safeguards in place, there simply is no reason for allowing more guns in public. Under the proposed legislation, guns would not be allowed in churches, schools, airports, stadiums and events where large crowds gather.

“The vast majority of Illinois residents feel that guns are OK to own and keep in your home, but not in public areas,” said Tom Mannard, executive director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence. “People won’t feel comfortable walking around in the business districts of Bloomington and Normal or near the ISU and Wesleyan campuses and on the same sidewalks as people with loaded guns.”

Mannard also argues any legislation that allows weapons in public places would not have a positive impact on safety.

“Bloomington-Normal has one of the fastest-growing populations in the state,” he said. “Do you really want to see more guns in that kind of environment?”

One of these days

Two years ago, the McLean County Board, along with dozens of others across the state, passed a resolution favoring protection of gun ownership rights under the Second Amendment. Normal resident Walter Biesiada helped organize the effort to get the resolution approved.

“Illinois and Wisconsin are the only two states where you can’t carry a gun,” Biesiada said. “Every other state that has approved legislation on this has continued to move forward and allow more freedom. None of them have moved backwards and restricted the rights after passage. That tells you that the proper legislation works.”

Darnell feels the time is approaching where Illinois citizens will be allowed to carry guns — after the proper background checks and training procedures are in place.

“One of these days we will get it,” he said. “The politicians in Chicago control a lot of votes and they don’t want it up there. But I think there will come a day when the citizens downstate get their way.”
Carry and conceal

House Bill 5221 calls for the creation of the Family and Personal Protection Act. It would:

* Allow State Police to issue permits to carry concealed firearms to persons at least 21 years of age who meet certain requirements;

* Authorize the county sheriff to evaluate the application and accompanying material, and within 30 calendar days transmit the application, accompanying material, and any objections to the application, and application fees to State Police.

* Require an applicant to have completed specified training requirements developed by the Illinois Law Enforcement Training Standards Board consisting of classroom instruction and live firing exercises.



4/26/10

Dr. Crandall: Close Loophole on Gun Sales

Medical professionals are pleading with lawmakers to require background checks on all handgun sales. They say legislation of this kind would reduce the escalating health care costs related to gun violence. Dr. Marie Crandall of Northwestern joined us.

She said a loophole in Illinois law allows private gun sellers to skip the background check when selling a gun, which can allow people who wouldn’t otherwise qualify to get guns. Roughly 40 percent of gun sales in Illinois are private sales.

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4/14/10

More Guns Equals More Gun Violence

BY ICHV BOARD MEMBER CHESTER KULIS
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I am a retired federal law enforcement officer who worked on gun-trafficking cases. My 20-year-old brother, Michael, was killed in an armed robbery on the CTA in 1972 when he was coming home from Loyola University. I have known several friends who were shot or killed with guns. I strongly support Chicago’s handgun ban.

Under Chicago’s gun ordinance, about 15,000 guns are seized and then melted down each year from individuals who were illegally carrying them in their cars or on the street. Many were involved in gang activity, assaults or domestic disturbances. Chicago citizens and police are better off with these guns destroyed. If these handguns were left in circulation, some no doubt would have been turned against us. Unlike Chicago, Memphis police resell confiscated guns. We now know what became of two of these recycled guns: One was involved in the shooting at the Pentagon, and another in the shooting at the federal court house in Las Vegas.

Where do guns in Chicago originate? They come from outside Chicago, often from the suburbs and from states like Mississippi and Alabama where there is no gun control whatsoever. The lack of meaningful gun regulation nationwide is the real “gun control” problem, not the Chicago ordinance.

The lead plaintiff in the challenge to the Chicago ordinance in the U.S. Supreme Court admitted that a few years ago a shotgun was stolen in a burglary of his house. If he had handguns, they too would now be on the street and be used against us law-abiding citizens. Stolen guns are one of many reasons Chicago is trying to cut down on guns in the home. A gun in the home is not the only way — or the wisest way — to protect our family.

Of the 22,000 handgun deaths every year, most are suicides. The second category — homicides — are mostly committed by family members or friends in the course of an argument. Then there are the accidental deaths, some involving children finding guns “hidden” by their parents. Most gun misuse is not by “hardened criminals.” Nationally handguns are used to kill criminals about 250 times per year. For every criminal killed in self-defense with a handgun, nearly 100 citizens die in suicides, homicides involving friends and family, and accidents.

The fundamental question our society has to answer: Are more guns the answer to all the gun violence — or the crux of the problem? In 1968 we had about 40 million handguns. In 1985 we had about 60 million. Today we have around 70 million handguns. If more handguns were the solution, the USA would have the lowest rate of gun violence of all the industrialized countries. Instead, we have the highest. Regions of the USA with the highest gun ownership (the West and the South) for decades have had the highest suicide and homicide rates.

Handguns in the home or on the street pose risks to everyone, including the gun owners. Surely none of us would allow anyone to booby trap their house with land mines to protect it, or to have dynamite or a machine gun in their home to repel a home invasion. We try to psychoanalyze those who kill their fellow workers, family and strangers. But we fail to connect the dots of all these tragedies: “and they had a gun.”

Just recently we had a second shooting at Northern Illinois University. In courses that I reach at Oakton Community College and Wright College, 40 percent of my students know someone who has been shot or killed with a gun. Every grammar school, high school and college now is at risk. Do we value our guns more than our kids?

Is our answer going to be more guns — and not only more guns, but allowing people to carry them concealed on the street, into college dorms, at sporting events and at bars? That is exactly what the Republican candidate for governor wants. For the last 60 years, Democrat and Republican governors have all supported reasonable gun control in Illinois — not more guns in public places.

Victims of gun violence call for change. They represent the silent majority: the 85 percent who in public opinion polls want reasonable gun-control measures.

Chester Kulis, of Norwood Park, an attorney, is a teaching adjunct in sociology and criminal justice at Oakton Community College.


3/12/10

Concealed carry activists host town hall meeting

BY DAVE MATTHEWS : MYSUBURBANLIFE.COM

Elmhurst, IL —

In light of an upcoming Supreme Court decision that might overturn the Chicago handgun ban, a gun-rights group stopped in Elmhurst last week to tell residents that allowing concealed carry of firearms in Illinois would be a proper next step.

IllinoisCarry, a southern Illinois-based offshoot of the Illinois State Rifle Association that since 2004 has advocated for statewide permission of concealed carry of firearms, hosted about 300 guests March 4 at the Diplomat West Banquet Halls.

“We just want to get people informed,” Illinois Carry member Greg Powell of Hanover Park said. “We want to get some elected officials that will fight for our rights and want some good Second Amendment people down in Springfield.”

For Powell, it’s a matter of protection and reason, as Illinois is one of two states that do not allow some form of concealed carry.

“My biggest problem is I got a son who’s a junior in high school, he’s going to college here in another year and a half, and I don’t want to send him to a school in Illinois because he’s unprotected,” Powell said. “All the hoodlums, gang bangers, they just carry guns anyway. Why can’t we protect ourselves too?”

Powell said the McDonald v. Chicago Supreme Court case is the catalyst for activity in the Chicago area. IllinoisCarry will appear next at the Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles in April.

“This gun case is going to be one of the biggest deals in the United States,” Powell said. “I think the Chicago politicians are really running scared.”

Illinois Carry participated with about 6,000 gun rights activists Wednesday for Illinois Gun Owners Lobby Day in Springfield.

State Sen. Kirk Dillard, R-24th District, of Hinsdale introduced legislation in 1995 that would have allowed concealed carry with background check safeguards, but the measure failed in the Senate by two votes. However, he said the attitude toward concealed carry since has changed.

“Public opinion in the last decade or so has clearly shifted to an understanding of the need for self-defense and the experience is that crime goes down,” Dillard said. “We all benefit from concealed carry because criminals are always apprehensive that someone might be armed … concealed (carry) is a deterrent to crime but most importantly, it is a basic constitutional right.”

Despite support, Dillard said it’s not likely a concealed carry bill will pass through the state Senate.

“There’s nothing pending in the senate, and as long as you have Chicago machine Democrats in charge of both legislative chambers and Pat Quinn, the likelihood of having concealed carry in Illinois is rough,” he said.

Thom Mannard, executive director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, disagrees.

“It’s one thing for people to say they have a right to have a gun in their home, we don’t disagree with that,” Mannard said. “But when you bring (guns) out on the street that becomes the community’s business. … I got a brother-in-law in Elmhurst, it’s not too dangerous in Elmhurst. If I went down his block, most people wouldn’t feel too comfortable with me carrying a 9mm with a 30-round magazine.”

Mannard disputes Dillard’s claims that there is growing support for concealed carry and that such a law reduces crime.

“It wasn’t because of a groundswell of support in any of these states,” Mannard said. “… Most of the people who get the permits are men who live in rural or suburban areas, it’s not like they’re major targets of crime. … There’s no proof that concealed carry has had a negative impact or positive impact on crime.”

Mannard also said suburban Republicans often join Chicago Democrats in their opposition to concealed carry.

“If they had the votes to pass the concealed carry bill last year, they would have called the bill in the House,” Mannard said. “People in the suburbs know generally they’re more than safe and don’t see more guns, particularly guns on the street, (improving) the safety of our suburbs.”

A state House bill that would allow state police to issue concealed carry permits to 21-year-olds who meet certain requirements passed a House committee this week.


3/8/10

Downstate lawmakers renew fight to carry concealed weapons

BY CHRIS ESSIG : PANTAGRAPGH.COM

SPRINGFIELD — A proposal pushed by state Rep. John Bradley, D-Marion, was approved by the House Agriculture Committee on an 11-1 vote. Chicago-area lawmakers are likely to push back if it reaches the House floor.

Proponents hope a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Chicago’s handgun ban could breathe life into their push. The high court heard oral arguments Tuesday.

Two years ago, the court overturned a similar handgun ban in Washington, D.C.

Illinois and Wisconsin are the only states that bar residents from carrying concealed weapons after undergoing training. Under Bradley’s proposal, the state police would be responsible for issuing permits.

Gun-rights activists argue that it’s unfair that some residents, including retired police officers, are allowed to carry concealed guns but others aren’t.

“All of our citizens should have the same equal protection,” said Todd Vandermyde, lobbyist for the National Rifle Association.

Opponents disagree.

“We don’t see how allowing handguns in public places in any way decreases the risk of gun death in communities,” said Tom Mannard, executive director for the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence.

Some public places would be exempt from the law, including churches, schools, airports and stadiums.

“I’m mystified by these exemptions,” said state Rep. Julie Hamos, an Evanston Democrat. “They are in fact a major concession by the proponents that people who carry concealed guns are inherently unsafe.”

Earlier in the day, a Senate committee stalled an effort to allow Peoria residents to carry concealed weapons. The legislation is Senate Bill 3292.

Bradley’s legislation is House Bill 6249.


3/3/10

Childrens’ fitness another casualty of random gunfire

BY SUE ONTIVEROS Sun-Times Columnist

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Every day, my friends and I walked to and from Bowen High School. Summers, we walked the mile-plus to swim at the beach. Winters, we’d skate in Bessemer Park.

Parents drive us there? Please. We wanted to be on our own, so we walked.

In all seasons we’d travel to this neighborhood or that, often to do nothing more than check out the boys, but still, we were on foot and moving. And having a blast.

Those early years set the groundwork for a lifetime of making physical activity a priority. That’s why it makes me sad to hear this is not how life is for Chicago teens anymore.

A new study by the research arm of Children’s Memorial Hospital shows that less than one-third — 28.8 percent of those surveyed — of Chicago teenagers get regular exercise.

It also reports that as the students get older, they attend gym classes less. Eighty-one percent of Chicago freshmen go to PE class, compared with 35 percent of seniors.

Maryann Mason, an assistant professor at Northwestern University who was involved in the study, agrees that the findings are troubling because exercise helps strengthen bones and wards off chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Mason also points out that what you do — or don’t do — when you’re young determines how you’ll live the rest of your life. “Healthy behavior, like all behaviors, is learned early. So if at a young age [you were not physically active] that means you’re more likely not to pick it up as an adult,” Mason says.

I wish I could tell Chicago parents to send their kids outdoors, make them walk to school. But in good conscience, I can’t. I know many parents don’t allow their kids outdoors because they worry about their safety.

Mason said this study didn’t look at that, but said other work she has been involved in has indicated safety is a factor, as well as a lack of green space and available activities.

That students aren’t out and being active doesn’t surprise Thom Mannard, executive director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence.

He has a lot of contact with parents who tell him they keep their children indoors because of fears of violence in their neighborhoods.

Those concerns are not unfounded. Schanna Gayden was 13 when she was killed in a Logan Square playground.

Ten-year-old Nequiel Fowler was walking from a friend’s house in South Chicago when she was shot and killed. Both were caught in gang crossfire. And the list goes on.

Parents hear tragic cases like that, and who can blame them for keeping their children indoors? Even if parents aren’t discouraging them, kids know what’s happening on their streets, so they steer clear.

“There should be an ability for our kids to be outside, to ride bikes, walk to a friend’s house, without fear of being a random victim of gun violence,” Mannard says.

We know random gunfire has ended the lives of so many innocent young victims. Now we can see the effect it’s having on an entire generation.

Bessemer Park, where I once skated? Gang members congregate there and spill out of the park as students leave Bowen, the high school I walked freely to and from.

School administrators there had to arrange to have CTA buses stop right in front of the school so students wouldn’t be harmed on the way to the bus stop.

No, I cannot tell parents to let their teens be out and active. And that’s a damn shame.


2/11/10

Letters to the editor: Handguns in home are the real hazard

from The Niles Herald-Spectator
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The recent unintentional shooting (Jan. 24) of an 8-year-old Niles girl by her 13-year-old brother only reinforces one of the inherent dangers of having a handgun in the home, particularly a handgun that is loaded and not locked away.

Studies have shown that it is much more likely for a handgun in the home to be involved in an unintentional shooting than to be used in self-defense. Unfortunately, most adults who purchase handguns don’t often consider the risks involved with bringing a handgun into the home, even when young children and teenagers live there.

Not only is it more likely for an unintentional shooting to occur in homes with handguns, but the risk of a suicide or a homicide happening in a home with a handgun is also higher than a home without a handgun. While there is certainly a possibility that a handgun in a home might be used at some point in a self-defense situation, people need to realize that there is a greater chance that a handgun will be used in quite a different way, often with tragic consequences for the people who live in that home.

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Thomas Mannard,
Niles Executive Director
Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence


11/18/09

New Web site tracks concealed weapons incidents

original story found at WBBM News Radio 780

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CHICAGO (STNG) — The Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence points to statistics compiled on a new Web site to argue that the state’s prohibition against carrying concealed handguns in public saves lives and protects law enforcement.

According to a new Violence Policy Center Web site — www.vpc.org/ccwkillers.htm — concealed handgun permit holders killed eight law enforcement officers and 77 private citizens (including 10 who killed themselves) from May 2007 through October 2009, a release from ICHV and VPC said.

Illinois and Wisconsin are the only states to prohibit the carrying of concealed handguns by private citizens. But both states have been targeted by the gun lobby to repeal their prohibitions.

Illinois gun violence prevention advocates say the prohibition has saved lives and should be a model for other governors and legislatures.

“Clearly, Illinois law enforcement officials and state residents are much safer by not having a dangerous carrying concealed handgun law,” Thom Mannard, executive director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, said in the release.

“When you look at the troubling incidents of concealed handgun permit holders murdering police officers and other citizens, you have to ask, how in the world can elected officials permit such risks to community safety?” he said.

The web site offers detailed descriptions of the 46 incidents in 18 states. Of these, 10 were murder-suicides involving firearms and eight were mass shootings (three or more victims) that claimed as many as 11 lives at a time. Law enforcement officers were killed in Florida (two), Idaho, Ohio and Pennsylvania (two), all with guns.

Kristen Rand, legislative director for the Violence Policy Center, said in the release, “This new Web site makes clear that contrary to the false promises of the gun lobby, the simple and deadly fact is that state concealed handgun systems are arming cop-killers, mass shooters and other murderers.”

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October 7, 2009

Chicago Violence Haunts Obama as Gun-Control Backers Left Cold

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dataOct. 7 (Bloomberg) — At least 47 school-age children in Chicago have been killed in homicides, mostly by guns, since the month President Barack Obama took office.

The latest youth homicide in his adopted hometown was different only in that the attackers used splintered railroad ties and were captured on video broadcast globally.

The Sept. 24 attack prompted Obama to send his attorney general and education secretary to Chicago today after the killing tarnished the city’s drive to win the 2016 Olympics.

“The savage beating of Derrion Albert, recycled on television, embarrassed Chicago and the nation,” said the Reverend Jesse Jackson, a civil-rights activist and founder of the RainbowPUSH Coalition. “You can’t ignore the case.”

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder plan to appear at City Hall with Mayor Richard Daley in what the Obama administration described as a search for solutions to youth crime. They also will meet privately with students and parents.

Chicago’s violence has long burdened Obama’s political career, including the embarrassment of a missed vote as a state senator that hurt his 2000 bid for Congress. Duncan, 44, a Chicago native and Obama friend, admits to “total failure” in curbing violence during his seven years as chief of the nation’s third-largest school system, which serves more than 400,000 students, 85 percent of them living below the poverty line.

Some gun-control advocates question the administration’s timing as Duncan and Holder arrive after a highly publicized beating that didn’t involve a gun.

Missed Opportunities

“Where there have been opportunities for the president to speak out about the issue of firearm violence, he has missed any number of opportunities,” said Thom Mannard, executive director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence.

Doing so in the Albert case “provides the cover” to address youth violence without confronting the gun lobby, said Mannard, whose group’s board of directors included Duncan until he left for his current post.

The administration defended its record.

“President Obama is committed to combating violence on our streets and in our schools, both in Chicago — which has been particularly hard hit — and around the nation,” White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage said in a statement. “The administration has focused on the issue of youth violence from the outset.”

The beating death of Albert, 16, an honor student, renewed outrage and prompted a call to action in a city where 398 students were shot in the past 12 months, said Monique Bond, a spokeswoman for the Chicago Public Schools. Four teens have been charged in connection with Albert’s killing.

Obama Sermon

The incident happened less than five miles from a church where Obama gave a sermon in July 2007 challenging the government, the gun lobby and the public to stop gun violence.

“Our playgrounds have become battlegrounds,” he told a standing-room congregation. “Our streets have become cemeteries. Our schools have become places to mourn the ones we’ve lost. The violence is unacceptable.”

Obama at the time called for better enforcement of existing gun laws, tighter background checks on gun buyers and a permanent assault-weapons ban.

Some of the students involved in the recent fatal fight live in Altgeld Gardens, a public housing project where Obama worked in the mid-1980s as a community organizer.

At Risk

Like Obama, 48, Duncan is familiar with youth violence in Chicago. Duncan was replaced as Chicago schools chief by Ron Huberman, a former Chicago police officer and transit official who is experimenting with a $30 million project to focus on about 1,200 high school students in danger of being shot.

The district identified those students based on grades, attendance and serious misconduct. The analysis suggests the 200 high school students most at risk have a 20 percent chance of becoming a victim of gun violence.

One of Obama’s first high-profile brushes with the anguish associated with gun violence came amid his unsuccessful primary campaign for Congress against Representative Bobby Rush, a former Black Panther.

Rush’s son was shot in October 1999 and died four days later, producing an outpouring of support for the incumbent.

Gun Vote

Later that fall, the Illinois legislature was called into special session to consider gun-safety initiatives that Obama supported.

When a crucial vote came earlier than expected, Obama was in Hawaii visiting the grandmother who helped raise him. The legislation failed by five votes as he remained in Hawaii to help care for a sick daughter, sparking criticism.

Daley initially played down the impact of the Albert case on the city’s Olympics bid. Still, his first public comments upon his return from Copenhagen were to address the violence and the “code of silence” surrounding it.

Gun issues in Chicago will remain in the national spotlight following the U.S. Supreme Court’s Sept. 30 announcement that it will hear a challenge of the city’s handgun ban, implemented in 1982 to combat urban crime.

Duncan said earlier this year that his attempts to curb violence were ineffective when he oversaw Chicago’s schools.

“I thought I had made things better in some areas,” he said April 14 in Chicago. “This is an area where I was a total failure.”

To contact the reporter on this story: John McCormick in Chicago at [email protected].



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7/6/09

YOUNG, BLACK MALES GETTING SHOT: WHAT TO MAKE OF THE MURDERS OF CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS

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Thirty-seven Chicago Public School students were murdered in the 2008-09 academic school year and then two more students – Shawn Wilson, 16 and Abraham Tabani, 15 – were killed in June as summer vacation started. The spike in murders of CPS students – 21 were killed in the 2007-08 – has alarmed city educators, politicians and community advocates. Asked about the murder rate, Mayor Richard Daley struggled to defend Chicago to CNN anchor Anderson Cooper last month. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois recently met with Attorney General Eric Holder about how the federal government can help.

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