Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


Obama's Home Town Turns Out For Universal Background Checks

Obama's Home Town Turns Out For Universal Background Checks

by Martha Rosenberg

Chicago, Il, February 25, 2013 - Carrying photos of lost loved ones and signs reading "We Deserve a Vote," a strong crowd turned out in the freezing Chicago rain in support of universal background checks on Friday.

Organized by 10 Illinois and Chicago based anti-gun violence groups, the rally comes weeks after the Obamas attended services for slain Hadiya Pendleton in Chicago and as Illinois' ban against concealed weapons has been overturned.

The stakes to curtail gun violence cannot be higher said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle because legislation to ban assault weapons is in the Illinois legislature "right now." Preckwinkle, who served as a Chicago alderman for 19 years, was able to pass a $25 county tax on firearms last year but noted the loopholes in Illinois which perpetuate gun violence.

Firearms Owner's Identification (FOID) Cards are issued in Illinois, for example, for ten years and there is "no checking" if the owner has been charged with crimes since issuance, said Preckwinkle. And, "designated streetpersons" who supply weapons through straw purchase operations simply say they "lost" their weapon or "it was stolen" when they are identified or apprehended.

"We have a Sandy Hook every month," proclaimed Tio Hardiman from Ceasefire IL which focuses on street violence and works with 1,100 high risk individuals. While a "full court press" is necessary, said Hardiman, the recent attention to gun violence in Chicago after the shooting death of Hadiya Pendleton, who had appeared at President Obama's inauguration, has produced a rare drop in shootings and gun deaths in February.

April 16, 2007 changed the life forever of Garret Evans. That's when he witnessed a .22 pistol appear in his Virginia Tech classroom and his instructor shot in the head, falling to the ground, Evans told the crowd. Shot through the leg himself, surrounded by wounded friends and dying classmates, Evans says the mass shooting of 33 was so "surreal" that six people were admitted to psychiatric units within 24 hours. An appropriate background check would have stopped the shooter, Cho Seung-hui, whose mental incapacitation slipped through loose laws, according to published reports.

In a short interview after his remarks, Evans said he now speaks about gun violence and glorification at schools and organizations and that "no venue is too big." His hardest challenge since the shooting was finishing his degree program in economics at Virginia Tech, he says. Through faith, he has forgiven the troubled shooter since "pulling a gun on someone is not a joyous act."

Also addressing the crowd was Stephen Young who lost his son to gun violence in 1996. Public outrage ended the Vietnam War which cost 58,000 lives, Young told the crowd, yet gun violence claims an equal number of lives every two years in the United States and there is not similar outrage.

Many are watching gun policy in Illinois for a reason other than the shooting of Hadiya Pendleton. On December 11, the same day as the deadly Oregon mall shooting, the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the gun lobby in determining that Illinois' longtime ban on carrying a concealed weapon was unconstitutional. A subsequent request by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan for a rehearing was rejected by a federal appeals court on Friday-- and the ruling was announced at the rally by Lee Goodman of Stop Concealed Carry. Undaunted, Goodman expressed hopes that Madigan would take the fight to the Supreme Court. The crowd chanted "We Deserve a Vote."

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Valerie Morse: The Security State: We Should Not Be Surprised, But We Should Be Worried

On the very day that the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security released her report into the actions of people the Prime Minister’s office in leaking classified Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) documents to right-wing smearmonger Cameron ... More>>

Ramzy Baroud: PFLP Soul-Searching: Rise And Fall Of Palestine’s Socialists

When news reports alleged that the two cousins behind the Jerusalem synagogue attack on 18 November were affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a level of confusion reigned. Why the PFLP? Why now? More>>

Valerie Morse: Key And NZ Police At G20: What A Contribution

While 200 New Zealand police officers are helping to repress protests outside of the G20 in Brisbane this week, John Key has been inside pushing the interests of giant multinational corporations to fast track the World Trade Organization (WTO) ... More>>

ALSO:

Gabriela Coutiño: Ayotzinapa Caravan Meets With EZLN In Oventic

In their visit to Zapatista Territory, parents of the 43 students disappeared from Ayotzinapa Guerrero, agreed with the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN), to articulate a national grassroots movement that would question forced disappearances ... More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Talk Of A Third Intifada: Where To From Here, Palestine?

When a journalist tries to do a historian’s job, the outcome can be quite interesting. Using history as a side note in a brief news report or political analysis oftentimes does more harm than good. More>>

ALSO:

David Swanson: Who Says Ferguson Can't End Well

Just as a police officer in a heightened state of panic surrounded by the comfort of impunity will shoot an innocent person, the Governor of Missouri has declared a state of emergency preemptively, thus justifying violence in response to something ... More>>

Melanie Duval-Smith: Homeless Is Where The Heart Is

So, you are not allowed to feed the homeless on the streets of Florida. Last week, a 90 year old man and two Christian ministers were arrested for doing just that. I can hear the cries of the right wingers from here. “Not in our back yard”, ... More>>

John Chuckman: What We Truly Learned From the Great War and the Absurdity of Remembrance Day

No matter what high-blown claims the politicians make each year on Remembrance Day, The Great War was essentially a fight between two branches of a single royal family over the balance of power on the continent of Europe, British foreign policy holding ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news