As a nation, we must change our failed gun laws

As we saw in Buffalo this past weekend, and in other places over the years, a teenager can apparently walk into a gun shop and buy a powerful semiautomatic rifle.

SHARE As a nation, we must change our failed gun laws
FBI agents look at bullet impacts in a Tops Grocery store in Buffalo, New York, on May 15, 2022, the day after a gunman shot dead 10 people. -

FBI agents look at bullet impacts at Tops Grocery in Buffalo, New York the day after a gunman shot 13 people, killing 10.

Usman Khan/AFP via Getty Images

To purchase a cigarette or a can of beer in this country, one must be 21 years old. To get a driver’s license and drive a car, one must pass a rigorous test and secure liability insurance.

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But, as we’ve seen in Buffalo this past weekend, and in other places over the years, a teenager can apparently walk into a gun shop and buy a powerful semiautomatic rifle after submitting to a cursory background check — even if the teen has recently threatened to shoot up his school, undergone psychiatric evaluation and written a long, violently racist and patently menacing screed.

Until we as a society resolve to confront the National Rifle Association and change our failed gun laws, future such incidents are inevitable, and we will all be complicit.

Hugh Iglarsh, Skokie

About that curfew...

There are many free musical and cultural events scheduled for Millennium Park this summer. How does Mayor Lori Lightfoot plan to enforce her curfew for “minors” at these events?

David G. Whiteis, Humboldt Park

Get tough on smash-and-grabs

Why is it necessary for Gov. J.B. Pritzker to seek a new law to combat smash-and-grabs, i.e., commercial burglary by rogue thugs? The new law makes it a felony with harsher penalties.

Wait, that’s being repetitive, as there’s a law already on the books to cover smash-and-grabs. It’s called burglary, which is a Class 2 Felony and can result in imprisonment up to 3-7 years, and anyone with a criminal history can face harsher sentencing. 

Just use the current law and start enforcing it to the fullest extent. When thugs enter a store that is open for business and rifle the store, charge them with burglary instead of retail theft.

John Moravecek, Naperville

Rolling back progress

Generations ago, the Mason-Dixon Line was commonly used to indicate the dividing point between north and south in America. Now, everyone understands red states and blue states.

But, as my old history professor friend pointed out to me 20 years ago, large metropolitan areas vs. rural/small town America was more descriptive. Since Richard Nixon’s Southern strategy, the GOP has been dividing us ever more finely.

Changes that most would call “progress” — interracial marriage, school integration, voting rights, access to reproductive health care that includes abortion, same-sex marriage and a functioning multicultural democracy — are anathema to these so-called conservatives. 

They went to war against change, creating a pipeline via the Federalist Society in order to tilt the Supreme Court to where it can gleefully roll back progress.

Conservatives complain about “big government,” but all they really want is their government. The more they divide us, the more they can chip away at our rights. With their success restricting voting rights, they may be on the verge of long-lasting, even permanent, minority rule.

Michael Hart, West Ridge

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