More GOP lawmakers should back assault weapon ban

It’s hard to believe former House Republican leader Jim Durkin and only one other GOP legislator voted to ban assault weapons in Illinois.

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Former Republican Minority Leader Jim Durkin backs a ban on military weapons, one of the few members of the GOP to do so in Illinois.

Former Republican Minority Leader Jim Durkin backs a ban on military weapons, one of the few members of the GOP to do so in Illinois.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Thanks for publishing the excellent op-ed by former Illinois House Republican leader Jim Durkin. He makes excellent points about the need to ban military weapons that were designed only for the battlefield from private use. The ease with which these weapons are bought and used is beyond reprehensible.

Opponents of such a ban point to a recent U.S. Supreme Court case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, to defend their position. But this case had to do with concealed weapons licenses and the need to show cause before acquiring one. Even Justice Brett Kavanaugh stated that governments may regulate weapons sales and background checks.

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It is hard to believe Durkin and only one other Illinois Republican voted to ban assault weapons in Illinois. And when Congress banned assault weapons for 10 years, those Republicans who voted for the ban were harassed for being sensible.

Let us return to some common ground. If Republicans would take a sensible stand and defy their NRA donors, such a ban on assault weapons would cut down on mass murder. Why such politicians would want to take money from people who prefer profit over safety is beyond me.

So what if their stand results in harassment and even defeat in the next election? To have a career that caters to the lowest common denominator among voters cannot be worth it.

Jan Goldberg, Riverside

Metra Electric is an untapped resource

The Metra Electric is one of our most under-used transportation assets.

Most cities would love to have fully elevated, electrified railroad tracks running into their downtown already built.

We ought to connect the Metra Electric with tracks that serve the North Side and O’Hare Airport. Building a bridge over the Chicago River as part of One Central could unlock that potential.

And we ought to use the Metra Electric’s connection with the South Shore Line — publicly-owned electrified tracks that run as far as South Bend, Indiana — as the basis for modern high-speed electric trains to run to the East Coast.

Especially since Union Station is largely at capacity, One Central could make a lot of sense as a new high-speed train station that connects Detroit, Indiana, Ohio and the East Coast to Chicago — and then up to O’Hare Airport.

Dan Johnson, Loop

Looking for Biden replacement

The early polling strength of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in the Democratic presidential race has mostly to do with pollees not wanting President Joe Biden as the Democratic candidate. It’s a “somebody else please” call. Sadly for most Democrats, nobody stands out as the best candidate to primary President Biden.

Mary F. Warren, Wheaton

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