Last school year 34 Chicago Public Schools students were killed; most by gunfire. This school year %uFFFD%uFFFD so far%uFFFD%uFFFD 24 CPS students have been killed. Again, in most of the deaths, guns were involved. Local elected officials and Chicago poli
Chicago aldermen traveled to Springfield recently to lobby for common sense gun legislation, stating that the students’ deaths are not just a city problem. The trip to Springfield came a few days before at least three-dozen people were shot, eight fatally, during the April 18 weekend.
“These kids are getting killed and folks aren’t going to prison,” Ald. Walter Burnett (27th) said, adding that too many guns are falling into the hands of the wrong people, and children most often pay the price%uFFFD%uFFFD with their lives. Burnett and other aldermen said the entire state is impacted by the deaths, but what is standing in the way of “common sense” gun laws are downstate legislators.
“It looks like we have the support from the Chicago delegation and some other urban parts of the state. But many of the downstate legislators don’t understand the importance of our ties to each other.
An investment in Chicago is an investment in the entire state,” Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd) said after the trip to Springfield. State Rep. LaShawn Ford (D-8th) concurred and said it was a matter of simple philosophy.
“We had more people in the House that believe that they should continue to maintain their Second Amendment right, regardless of the need to revisit the Second Amendment and do something to reduce the number of murders that’s happening,” said Ford. Ford, who represents portions of the West Side, is the co-sponsor of HB 758, HB 796 and HB 1696, all proposed laws for better firearm control. HB 758, a push for more stringent background checks on all weapons buyers, recently failed in the House.
Of the 118 state representatives, only 58 voted for the bill, Ford said. “Most of the people who voted ‘yes’ were from the city, and the downstate Democrats and Republicans would vote ‘no,’ and that’s because they don’t share the same problems that we have.
We have a lot of gun legislation on the books right now, but every little bit helps when you’re trying to reduce the number of guns on the street,” Ford said. Chicago police brass also supports more firearm laws, especially bans on high-powered assault weapons.
While police Supt. Jody Weis, along with local and state legislators, want stricter gun laws, some don’t think it will solve the problem. Marcus Greer, 17, is the latest CPS student felled by gun violence. His grandmother said more gun laws will not quell the problem.
“That’s not going to work because guys running from police, they throw the guns and a little 12-yearold will pick it up, and he’ll go kill another Marcus tomorrow,” said Lula Greer.
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