Gun violence prevention groups call for politicians to ban assaulted weapons

Photo by: Nikoleta Morales

“Once again, our nation recoils in the horror of another mass shooting where the shooter had a military style assault riffle,” said Mark Walsh, campaign director for the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence. “The majority of Americans support these reforms. How many children and innocent people must die before our politicians have the courage to represent the people of this nation, rather than the NRA and the multi-million gun lobby?”, he added.
The Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence (ICHV) is working with the Chicago Clergy Coalition to build support for a state ban on assault weapons. The ban continues to be fought by the National Rifle Association (NRA) and pro-gun groups, which are in favor of having more guns on the streets. The NRA argues that Congress should put armed police officers in every school in America.
”The NRA is completely out of step with the national conversation particularly when it comes to semiautomatic riffles and high-capacity clips that have no legitimate hunting or self-defense purpose,” said Burke Strunsky, senior deputy district attorney from Southern California, two-time prosecutor of the year, author and long time advocate of the ban on assault-style weapons. “The NRA is positioned to become irrelevant unless they take a temperature reading of national sentiment and acknowledge the patent realities of the number of guns and gun violence and present a reasonable plan that isn’t an insult. They are on the wrong side of history.”
According to a Kellerman study from 1998, 626 shootings in three US cities, revealed that “for every time a gun in the home was used in a self-defense or legally justifiable shooting, there were four unintentional shootings, seven criminal assaults or homicides, and 11 attempted or completed suicides.” “Individuals in possession of a gun at the time of an assault are 4.46 times more likely to be shot in the assault than persons not in possession,” according to a Branas study from 2009.
“Instead of parents purchasing presents this Christmas, they will purchase caskets,” said Walsh who claims that there is 87 percent of gun violence in Chicago. “We must choose safe communities and safe schools over gun violence.”
First District State Senator Antonio “Tony” Muñoz said that he and 2nd District Representative Edward Acevedo intend to move legislation in the General Assembly’s January term. “Everybody is working together to pass the bill forward,” said Muñoz.
The legislation is currently supported by Governor Quinn, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, as well as 23 mayors across Illinois, who announced their support for the ban.
According to Chicago Temple’s Senior Pastor Philip Blackwell, the government has been looking in the wrong places when it comes to terrorists carrying assaulted weapons. “We live in a fantasy that we are safe, that guns will make us safer,” said Blackwell.
“Guns do not make people safer, people do,” said Rev. Susan Johnson from Hyde Park Union Church.
“The popular support for a state ban on assault weapons is at an all time high,” said Acevedo. “We elected officials have a duty to enact a law to keep these guns out of our neighborhoods and protect the citizens of this state and all across the country. We can’t simply sit back and do nothing as we watch our children, our police officers, innocent men and women getting gunned down by these weapons in our communities’ day after day. Enough is enough.”
For more information and to sign a petition to bass the bill, go to www.passthebill.us or call 312-675-2570.

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