Supreme Court gun rights ruling will add to death toll (Sen. Roland Burris)
The new ruling stipulates that Chicago must abandon its current gun law — a statute put in place to curb violence and protect emergency responders, such as police officers and EMTs. Now that these protections have been overturned, it is imperative that the city moves quickly to enact responsible handgun regulations, so we can secure our neighborhoods and prevent these weapons from falling into the hands of criminals.
This means ensuring that individuals who wish to purchase handguns must undergo thorough background checks, so they can be held to the highest standards of responsibility and safety. It means employing strict measures designed to prevent handguns from permeating our streets and falling into the possession of gangs and young people. And it means increasing federal and state support for after school programs and summer jobs initiatives, which will help foster a positive environment for our young people and keep them from finding fellowship with gangs and the criminal element.
Here in Chicago, our task is to work with lawmakers on the local and state level to implement new regulations that are both sensible and stringent. We must abide by the Supreme Court’s decision, while protecting our citizens and keeping handguns out of the hands of criminals.
It’s time for local and federal legislators to operate in partnership as never before. Local officials must develop an approach that redefines gun ownership not only as a protected right, but as a real responsibility. And federal officials must redirect programming dollars to target inner-city youth and disadvantaged populations, so we can provide the kind of education and job training that will help them stay on the right path.
In any case, the scope of our violence prevention and gun control efforts must be expansive, because the scourge of gun violence is not exclusive to Chicago. This is a deadly pandemic that afflicts countless cities and states across the country. Unfortunately, the court’s decision places an increased burden on these localities to tailor their gun laws to accommodate the new ruling, while simultaneously instituting policies that protect citizens from the abuse of handgun rights.
We have a responsibility to protect Second Amendment rights for all our citizens. But we also have a solemn obligation to stand firm against the wave of violence that threatens our homes, workplaces, schools and places of worship.
The sad truth is that the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision to reverse Chicago’s handgun ban will seriously hinder our efforts to blunt the rise of deadly shootings across the country. So now is the time for ordinary citizens and elected officials to come together in support of a sensible solution to this problem. Now is the time to collaborate on a way to close this regulatory gap, and fight to take back our streets.