Banning so-called ‘assault weapons’ will do nothing to end criminal use of firearmson February 21, 2021 at 5:32 pm

The Chicago Sun-Times editorial board should focus on advocating for more resources to better enforce existing gun laws instead of pushing more gun control on law-abiding Americans. Pandering for restrictive laws, including bans on so-called “assault weapons,” as you do in a Feb. 15 editorial, will not end the criminal misuse of firearms.

The editorial board blames so-called “assault weapons,” which are modern sporting rifles, the most popular-selling centerfire rifle in America. There are 20 million in circulation today, used for lawful purposes, including recreational target shooting, self-defense and hunting. These semiautomatic rifles use technology introduced to the marketplace in the late 1800s. They have been commercially available since the early 1960s. They fire only one round with each pull of the trigger.

These firearms, and the law-abiding citizens who own them, are not criminals. According to FBI crime data, more murders are committed each year using knives, clubs and fists than from all rifles combined.

The editorial board ignores countless examples throughout the summer of law-abiding Americans who used their firearms to protect their businesses, homes and loved ones when violent looters and rioters looted and burned communities.

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. Please include your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes. Letters should be 350 words or less.

The firearm industry isn’t waiting. We are providing Real Solutions(R) and committing resources to gun safety and education programs that promote safe and responsible firearm storage in the home and in retail business operation and security.

These initiatives include partnering with more than 15,000 local law enforcement agencies to provide 40 million firearm safety kits, including firearm locking devices, for safe gun storage through Project ChildSafe.

Our industry is also fixing the FBI’s background check system by successfully changing the law in 16 states and Congress to increase reporting of disqualifying mental health records, resulting in a 266% increase.

Congress once banned these firearms, but irrefutable evidence proves this did not reduce crime. Criminals will not follow laws, and only law-abiding Americans will suffer. Instead of pushing flawed gun control schemes like banning modern sporting rifles, we should continue providing resources to programs with a proven record of making safer communities.

Lawrence G. Keane,
Senior vice president and general counsel
National Shooting Sports Foundation

Tribune stung by scorpion

The Chicago Tribune, a respected conservative newspaper that has promoted capitalism for more than a century, now will be owned entirely by a ruthless profit-driven hedge fund. Should we be surprised when a scorpion stings its helper?

George Ochsenfeld, Monee

Paying for police OT during pandemic

Not to defend Mayor Lori Lightfoot for spending COVID-19 relief funds to pay for police overtime, but would those protesting that decision, led by Ald. Daniel La Spata, rather she had raised taxes to get the money needed? In an economy ravaged by COVID, the treasury is bare, which puts the mayor between a rock and a hard place. The money was owed to the police officers who answered the call of duty. Better the protesters had argued it ought to have come in whole or in part from TIF funds instead of the COVID relief fund, which would have made for a better-balanced argument. But they didn’t.

Ted Z. Manuel, Hyde Park

Trump will never be held accountable

In her Friday column, Mona Charen wondered aloud whether former Dear Leader Donald Trump might finally be held accountable for his actions. Trump has a 74-year streak of never once being held accountable for anything, so it’s pretty clear the answer is no. That tells you everything you need to know about how people and systems in this country are designed to protect rich white men above all others.

Don Anderson, Oak Park

Ted Cruz and Mike Bilandic

Ted Cruz pulled a Bilandic! I’m referring to the heat former Chicago Mayor Mike Bilandic got when Chicagoans felt he had failed to respond appropriately to the hardships created by a blizzard in 1979.

Instead of dealing with a major crisis in Texas, U.S. Sen. Cruz escaped to beautiful Cancun to spare himself and his family from very problems he was elected to address. He abandoned his solemn duty to the people of Texas. He should have spent more time as a senator in planning for the impact of climate change rather than supporting baseless voter conspiracy theories.

Tom DeDore, Garfield Ridge

Bill Gates promotes plant-based diets

Bill Gates, the billionaire philanthropist, has it right when he asserts that wealthy people in affluent nations should adhere strictly to plant-based diets. Raising and killing animals for food is cruel and inhumane, and it exacerbates global warming and environmental toxicity. It also increases deforestation, pollution and energy resource crises.

If we truly want to defeat climate change, it’s morally and ecologically imperative to eschew the consumption of meat, poultry and fish.

Brien Comerford, Glenview

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