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Monday Letters: License all gun dealers in Illinois

Illinois issues licenses for over 100  professions, including funeral directors, veterinary technicians and hair braiders. We do not currently license gun dealers. While most dealers are responsible businessmen who strictly try to prevent any suspicious sale, some are more interested in profit. Studies have shown that 90 percent of recovered crime guns can be traced to just 5 percent of gun dealers. Dealers are federally licensed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, but that agency is so pressured that in general dealers are inspected less than once a decade.

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There are bills right now in Springfield, in both the house and the Senate that would establish state-level licensing of gun dealers. The Village of Skokie passed a resolution Monday night calling on the General Assembly and the governor to pass such legislation. I ask Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago City Council to add their voices to Skokie’s demand. I ask our representatives and senators to heed this call and pass the bills. And I ask Gov. Bruce Rauner to sign this into law.

This is not a solution to all our gun violence problems, but fewer illegal guns on the streets are one step in the journey to make Illinois and our nation safer.

Eileen G. Soderstrom, West Rogers Park

Slanted headline

I was disappointed with the slant of the Sun-Times headlines when reporting the death of Joseph Imesch, former Bishop of Joliet. Both the front-page lead and the full-page article inside had headlines referencing his handling of sex-abuse cases, as if this single issue was the most defining element in his years of ministry.

By way of contrast, Marie Wilson’s article was quite balanced. The first third of her report chronicled the bishop’s accomplishments and contained testimonials from those who appreciated his leadership. Only then did she devote a few paragraphs to the sex-abuse issue before concluding with his early personal history and more testimonials.  From the headlines one would not have guessed the balanced content of the article. Thumbs up to Marie Wilson. Thumbs down to the headline writer.

 Brother Thomas Hetland, Bronzeville

Support the arts

According to Americans for the Arts, the nonprofit arts industry (museums, theater and dance companies, performing arts centers, orchestras, arts councils and others) generates $22.3 billion in federal, state, and local tax revenues annually-a yield well beyond their collective $4 billion in arts allocations.

Because the National Endowment for the Arts supports artistic excellence and improves access to the arts by granting funds to nonprofit arts organizations, I call on our federal officials to support an increase in funding for the NEA beyond its 1993 funding level of $174 million. That funding figure equals $277 million in today’s dollars.

Our schools need more arts education. Schools, especially those struggling, can retain their best teachers by becoming incubators for creativity and innovation; places where students want to learn and teachers want to teach. Students with an education rich in the arts have better grade-point averages, score better on standardized tests in reading and math, and have lower dropout rates-findings that cut across all socio-economic categories. Congress should support an expansion of the federal arts education program to provide the best models for schools to include the arts in their curriculum.

Our rural communities contain some of the greatest cultural assets of our country. Rural economic development should be strengthened to help these communities promote the richness of their heritage and assist local artists with their entrepreneurship.

Across the country, the role of the arts as an economic engine is growing in acceptance and strength. I call on all lawmakers to support funding and policies at the federal level that would recognize the growth potential and direct benefits of encouraging cities and states to strategically invest in the arts in order to drive economic development.

Robert Lichtenbert, Belmont-Cragin

Replace Ashton Carter

Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter’s policies of accepting transgender troops, and expanding female roles into combat infantry action is an abomination. His politically correct advancements are in the process of threatening the national defense and security interests of the United States. Good order, and discipline within the ranks, plus respect and trust among the troops is an absolute requirement for an effective and viable military command structure. Carter is in the process of undermining these hallmarks.

The role of the armed forces of the United States is to defend this nation against all enemies foreign and domestic. Singularly, the institution is a war-fighting machine. It’s mission is to kill the enemy. It is not a platform for social experimentation, political correctness or gender equality as Carter would have it. In this context, unequivocally, Carter must go!

Earl Beal, Terre Haute, Ind.

No toilet?

Amazing! Donald Trump doesn’t use a toilet! It’s disgusting to think just exactly where he goes to relieve himself. On a tree? But that’s where dogs go! Draw your own conclusion.

Edwina Jackson, Longwood Manor