As a mother and grandmother, and one who has experienced the loss of a child, my heart goes out to the thousands of families who have lost children and other family members through senseless gun violence. After the slaughter at Sandy Hook, I became one of the founding members of  People For A Safer Society, a grassroots group in Illinois that fights to prevent gun violence. I feel our children deserve the right to grow up free from the worry of gun violence.

And yet, gun violence continues to plague our city, our state and our nation. We continually see guns in the hands of those who should not have them — terrorists, criminals, mentally unstable individuals and domestic abusers. There are many steps that our society should be taking to reduce gun violence.  Shockingly, although Illinois licenses hair braiders, nail technicians, veterinarian technicians and many other professions, Illinois DOES NOT license gun dealers. The Gun Dealer Licensing Act would require criminal background checks for gun store employees, training for employees to help stop straw purchases and basic store security measures to prevent theft. These simple requirements will slow the entry of guns into our neighborhoods. Fifteen states and Washington D.C. have enacted state licenses to close loopholes in federal laws. These states show a marked decrease in crimes with guns purchased from gun dealers. These simple requirements will slow the entry of guns into our neighborhoods.

Beverly M. Copeland, Morton Grove

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Help wanted for Roskam constituents

Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) recently offered to hold a town hall to explain the details of the AHCA and invited his neighboring district’s constituents to attend because their representative, Republican John Fasso, voted for the AHCA but is not answering calls or holding a town hall. What a wonderful idea! My congressman, Peter Roskam, who also voted for the AHCA, refuses to hold a town hall, and his staffer just hung up on me. Like many Americans, I had a number of questions regarding the details of the AHCA. I’ve had two children and am still of child-bearing age. Would that qualify as a pre-existing condition? Is it true that employers will be able to adopt other state’s lower coverage standards? Did the congressman consider the impact of reducing Medicaid by over $800 billion by 2026?

The staffer said he didn’t know specifics but not to worry because no one will lose coverage due to pre-existing conditions. Quickly realizing I wouldn’t be getting any substantive answers, I asked the staffer to pass on that I was deeply disappointed that Rep. Roskam voted for the bill without a CBO score, hearings, and against the advisement of the AMA, AHA, American Cancer Society and AARP, to name a few. Therefore, I wouldn’t be able to vote for Roskam in 2018. … Click and dial tone.

If you’re reading this, Reps. Bill Foster, Jan Schakowsky and Raja Krishnamoorthi, would you consider making room at your town hall for Illinois 6th District constituents who are desperate for answers? We are ready and willing to travel for the opportunity to hear from and participate in a respectful dialogue with an actual member of Congress.

Jocelyn Mokhtarian, Clarendon Hills