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

 

Syed Atiq ul Hassan: Eye-Opener For Islamic Community

An event of siege, terror and killing carried out by Haron Monis in the heart of Sydney business district has been an eye-opener for the Islamic Community in Australia. Haron was shot down before he killed two innocent people, a lawyer and a manager ... More>>

Jonathan Cook: US Feels The Heat On Palestine Vote At UN

The floodgates have begun to open across Europe on recognition of Palestinian statehood. On 12 December the Portuguese parliament became the latest European legislature to call on its government to back statehood, joining Sweden, Britain, Ireland, France ... More>>

ALSO:


Fightback: MANA Movement Regroups, Call For Mana Wahine Policy

In the wake of this years’ electoral defeat, the MANA Movement is regrouping. On November 29th, Fightback members attended a Members’ Hui in Tāmaki/Auckland, with around 70 attending from around the country. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: The Mockingjay Of Palestine: “If We Burn, You Burn With Us”

Raed Mu’anis was my best friend. The small scar on top of his left eyebrow was my doing at the age of five. I urged him to quit hanging on a rope where my mother was drying our laundry. He wouldn’t listen, so I threw a rock at him. More>>

ALSO:

Don Franks: Future Of Work Commission: Labour's Shrewd Move

Lunging boldly towards John Key, shouting 'Cut the crap!' - Andrew Little was great, wasn't he? Labour's new leader spoke for many people fed up with Key's flippant arrogant deceit. Andrew Little nailing the Prime minister on lying about contacting a rightwing ... More>>

Asia-Pacific Journal: MSG Headache, West Papuan Heartache? Indonesia’s Melanesian Foray

Asia and the Pacific--these two geographic, political and cultural regions encompass entire life-worlds, cosmologies and cultures. Yet Indonesia’s recent enthusiastic outreach to Melanesia indicates an attempt to bridge both the constructed and actual ... More>>

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>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news