Editorial: Another priest in the streets

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// ]]>Another priest is ready to work the streets of Chicago to stop gun violence.

On Friday, the Sun-Times’ Michael Sneed reported that Archbishop Blase Cupich has asked to go on patrol with Police Supt. Garry McCarthy in the city’s most violent neighborhoods.

We say to the archbishop: Keep going. Don’t stop there.

Gun violence is a horrific plague. Consider just one day this week, Thursday. Four Marines were killed in Chattanooga, Tenn., in a shooting rampage. In Colorado, James Holmes was convicted of gunning down a dozen people in a packed movie theater in 2012. In South Carolina, a judge set a July 2016 trial date for a man charged with a mass shooting that killed nine black parishioners in a Charleston church.

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As for the Chicago area on Thursday? A 15-year-old boy was shot in the leg in Park Manor on the South Side. A man was charged in an earlier shooting that left one man dead and another seriously injured in Humboldt Park. A 23-year-old man who had been shot and killed in Austin was identified. A 16-year-old boy was charged with shooting two teenagers in Aurora.

A day of shame that should live in notoriety. Except it’s all too common.

We need Cupich and other moral leaders to help guide this country away from the slow-motion massacre caused by easy access to firearms. Seize a prominent role in helping Chicago stop the calamitous flow of illegal guns into our city.

As we’ve said before, if this isn’t God’s work we don’t know what is.

Every day, gun violence kills 89 people in America and injures hundreds more. Children die in their homes and in parks that should be scenes of pleasure, not death. Innocent bystanders die waiting for a bus, riding a bike, sitting on a porch. Young men’s mistakes are harshly punished with instant annihilation. Across the country, mass shootings average one a week.

The shootings do not have to continue unchecked.

In Washington a bipartisan bill, H.R. 1217, would require background checks for all gun sales online and at gun shows. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, which is pushing the bill, cites a recent study that found the 18 states that have expanded background checks on their own have 46 percent fewer women murdered with guns by intimate partners; 48 percent fewer law enforcement officers killed by handguns; and 48 percent fewer gun-related suicides.

Illinois should license all gun dealers, which would help authorities crack down on known sources of illegal firearms; require point-of-sale reporting; strengthen the background-check law and beef up penalties for failing to report lost and stolen guns.

To get common sense gun reforms enacted, we need leaders in the streets. And we all need to follow.

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