Updated: March 15, 2013 1:28PM
A disturbing murder rate in Chicago, including a succession of innocent victims, and a federal court ruling on concealed carry has made gun control a hot issue these days in Illinois.
Facing rampant gun violence, Chicago officials and Gov. Pat Quinn are pressuring lawmakers to prohibit assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition magazines. It’s a major issue in the 2nd Congressional District special election, and the Illinois State Rifle Association is flexing its political muscle to promote concealed carry in the state and to thwart efforts it believes might restrict gun ownership.
Earlier this week, a Will County Board committee scheduled a hearing on whether to endorse a resolution, mostly symbolic, aimed at supporting concealed carry in Illinois, the only state in the nation that forbids it. The committee delayed a vote, but not before about 25 people showed up — most of them urging the county board to support the idea so citizens can better protect themselves and their families.
The issue of what causes gun violence is an intensely emotional one, often flaring tempers on either side. While there’s no magic solution that can end all gun violence, those emotions seem to be a hindrance to getting anything done.
But there should be honest debate and compromise from both sides. Can we not keep sacred the Second Amendment and still find ways to prevent criminals and people with a history of mental illness from getting their hands on guns? Is it so outrageous to require responsible, law-abiding gun owners to report when a gun is lost or stolen? Do civilians need access to rapid-fire rifles and high-capacity ammo magazines?
People, no matter where they live in Illinois, have a right to own a gun. And it makes little sense for Illinois to prohibit people from carrying concealed guns, especially when all other states do not. If you want to prohibit that in certain public places, fine.
If the propaganda, stubbornness and heated rhetoric on both sides could somehow be reduced, sensible gun measures could be achieved.