Gun violence is everyone’s issue

After the horrific events at Uvalde and right here at home, in Highland Park, it’s time to come together and get military-style weapons and high-capacity magazines out of the hands of the public.

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Signs against gun violence are placed on July 6 at a memorial for the victims of a mass shooting at a Fourth of July parade.

Signs against gun violence are placed on July 6 at a memorial for the victims of a mass shooting at a Fourth of July parade.

Jim Vondruska/Getty Images

Gun reform is often framed as a political issue, when in reality it isn’t. The epidemic of gun deaths in our country makes this a public health issue and a public safety issue.

If you care about children, veterans, police officers, women, or are pro-life, gun reform is your issue. Guns are the leading cause of death among children and adolescents; 68% of veteran suicides are by firearm. Assault weapons in the hands of the public put police officers at greater risk and makes their job more challenging. Every year, more than 700 women are killed by intimate partners using guns. If you value life, you should be at the forefront of fighting to save lives.

This issue requires a national solution, but that doesn’t mean states shouldn’t act to move solutions forward. Illinois is at the forefront of common-sense gun laws and as state legislators, we’ve supported laws that ban untraceable ghost guns, strengthen our red flag laws, and direct funding to our public health department to analyze gun violence as a public health issue. But we must do more.

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After the horrific events at Uvalde and right here at home, in Highland Park on Independence Day, it’s time to come together and get military-style weapons and high-capacity magazines out of the hands of the public. We need to take the fight to the market, through legislation that removes the financial burden of enhancing school safety from the taxpayer and places it on those profiting from the sale and manufacturing of firearms and ammunition.

Measures requiring extensive training in use and safety in firearms, for example, as well as raising the age of gun ownership, will serve to reduce accidental deaths and better ensure those owning firearms are mature enough to handle the responsibility. And we should pass legislation addressing one of the most glaring examples of irresponsibility in this area by placing severe restrictions — or better yet, banning — the raffling of firearms and ammunition at political fundraisers.

Together, we can push for legislative changes that can end mass shootings, reduce suicides, and prevent violence in our communities. We will continue to work with our colleagues to make those legislative changes reality.

This country is at its greatest when people’s safety is above ideology and differences of opinion. Gun reform is something we can and should all agree on. This is everyone’s issue.

State Sen. Ann Gillespie (D-27th District); State Rep. Mark Walker (D-53rd District), Arlington Heights

Transit-oriented development would help solve housing, climate crises

As a resident of Beverly/Morgan Park on the Far Southwest Side, I consider the Connected Communities Ordinance a major win. The ordinance seeks to streamline and catalyze dense residential and commercial development near public transportation. It also seeks to benefit disinvested communities on the south and west sides.

Beverly has followed the trend set by most affluent majority-white communities: to downzone and severely restrict development. Though the Metra Rock Island line runs the length of our community, it is surrounded by the largest swath of ultra-low density zoning on the South Side, representing a gross underutilization of public infrastructure.

The ordinance removes some of the NIMBY (“Not In My Backyard”) regulations that stymie the natural growth and evolution of a community. In the face of a national affordable housing crisis and advancing climate change, communities like Beverly/Morgan Park can no longer pretend to exist in a vacuum.

Building more housing and denser development, especially around transit, is a key part of the solution. There is simply no excuse for middle-class communities like Beverly to resist this kind of positive change.

Scott Kibler, Beverly

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