Residents should remain receptive to gun laws

By Ashley Hines

Governor J.B. Pritzker signed bipartisan legislation providing increased state surveillance over Illinois firearm retailers and combating illegal gun trafficking on Jan. 17. For Illinois residents, the bill represents the first step in a string of much needed gun laws promised by the Democratic governor.

Illinois desperately needs more sensible gun policies. For most, targeting the issue of gun violence and illegal purchases in Illinois has felt long overdue. In a country ravaged by nearly 50,000 gun crimes in 2018 and a state harboring a large number of them, common sense gun laws are necessary. In America, six in ten citizens support stricter gun laws, according to an Oct. 2018 Gallup poll.

There have already been 19 mass shootings and 3,126 incidents of gun violence in 2019 alone with the number increasing by hundreds daily, according to the Gun Violence Archive as of Jan. 23.

The new law requires sellers be certified by the state and licensed by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Additionally, shops must install security equipment, keep an electronic database of sales and employees must go through annual training to recognize and prevent straw purchases, which is when an individual buys a firearm for someone who legally cannot, according to a Jan. 17 Chicago Tribune article.

“I’m happy to see the state take action,” junior political science and NNGO major Ian Pearson said, who is also president of Model Illinois Government and College Democrats. “I don’t think it’s an undue restriction on gun sellers. It should at least moderately improve safety in the state.”

The Illinois State Rifle Association plans to challenge the law in court, according to a Jan. 17 Chicago Tribune article. The legislation sparked backlash among many citizens, most claiming an assault on Second Amendment rights.

“When people hear gun restrictions, they assume it’s an attack on the Second Amendment and don’t really think about if the policy is common sense,” Pearson said.

If people were as concerned with the dangers of gun violence as they are with attacks on their Second Amendment rights, America would be a safer place.

There are components of gun violence other than homicide. A majority of the aforementioned numbers consist of suicides and accidents.

The mere presence of a gun in a home increases an individual’s risk of death by homicide by 90 percent, according to a 2016 study by the American Journal of Epidemiology.

“People believe they have a right to own a firearm no matter the circumstance, and that’s simply not the case,” Julia Hoelzer, first-year human resource management major, said. “The consequences of owning a firearm can be so lethal. People should not feel scared by this law. It’s protecting them regardless of whether or not they understand it.”

The support is irrefutable. States with stricter gun laws have significantly less gun violence, according to a March 2018 study published by the Journal of American Medical Association.

No matter party affiliation, people wish to be kept safe. The bottom line is laws such as the one Pritzker passed and the ones he plans to pass concerning gun restrictions will ensure safety for citizens and they should be receptive to that.