Though we’re beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel in the fight against COVID-19, our nation’s pandemic of gun violence continues to kill innocent Americans daily. The Illinois Legislature, I believe, must answer the call to fight this pandemic as well.
In 2018, Illinois passed the Firearms Restraining Order law, with bipartisan support, in response to rising rates of firearm suicides, firearm domestic violence and mass shootings. The law allows family members and law enforcement agencies to petition the courts to temporarily remove firearms from people who pose a significant danger to themselves or others.
Unfortunately, the law is underused, and its implementation has been inconsistent due to a lack of awareness.
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I have proposed new legislation, House Bill 1092, that would strengthen the existing FRO law, helping to prevent the next mass shooting in Illinois. The bill would ensure that, when allowed by the court order, ammunition also is removed from a person who is exhibiting dangerous behavior. And it would make sure firearms are removed in a timely manner.
To address the lack of awareness about FRO, the bill would create a public education campaign about the law. And because law enforcement officers often are the ones who file FRO petitions, it would require yearly training on how to use the FRO law.
By passing House Bill 1092, Illinois can strengthen its existing FRO law. It can help prevent mass shootings, hate crimes and firearm suicides.
No family should have to bury a child or spouse or parent because of preventable gun violence. We must pass HB 1092 to take lethal weapons out of the hands of those who pose a significant danger to themselves or others. Let’s not miss an opportunity to prevent a tragedy like the ones we continually see across the nation.
Please reach out to your state legislators and ask them to support this critical bill.
State Rep. Denyse Stoneback, D-Skokie
Immigrants getting us through this pandemic
Three of my grandparents were immigrants, born in Europe. The fourth was born in America, but both his parents were immigrants. America has always benefited from immigrants’ contributions to our society.
Recently, immigrants have played a critical role throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly 23 million immigrants have been putting their health at risk by performing essential roles that have kept our children and families healthy, and kept our child care, health care system, long-term care, food supply chain and our economy running.
That’s why it is so important that immigrant essential workers, Dreamers and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders are given a pathway to citizenship in the upcoming economic recovery package. This would be an important step toward rebuilding our nation’s care infrastructure. Since mothers have stepped out of the labor force at a higher rate than fathers, we can support their return to the workforce by supporting child care jobs often held by immigrants.
Please support all efforts to protect immigrant families who have worked to support our communities throughout the pandemic. Please let your federal representatives know that you support this important effort, which benefits all Americans.
Bob Chimis, Elmwood Park
Not always two sides to a story
I agree with a Sun-Times’ reader who wrote this week in support of Mark Brown’s column about the shooting of Adam Toledo. It was a tragedy on all sides. Everybody in the media should view the recording of the shooting and see how little time passed from when Adam Toledo dropped his gun to when he turned and was shot. If we are not fair in this case, it will be harder to achieve fairness in others.
I disagree with the other reader, though, that “there are always two sides to a story.” Many times, yes, but were there two valid sides to the George Floyd killing? Or to the issue of Barack Obama’s birthplace? Or as to who was responsible for what happened at the Capitol on Jan. 6 (no matter what House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has changed his story to)?
Kevin Coughlin, Evanston