DeKalb reacts to Obama’s gun control plans

By Brooke Shinberg

President Barack Obama introduced a series of legislative measures and executive orders centered around reducing gun violence during a national address on Jan. 16.

The speech outlined 23 points that Obama said he hopes will decrease gun violence and crime in the country. The points include items like enforcing a background check requirement for anyone hoping to purchase a gun and reforming gun ownership policies.

“We know [gun control] is a complex issue that stirs deep passions,” Obama said in the speech. “…The fact that we can’t prevent every act of violence doesn’t mean we can’t gradually decrease the violence.”

DeKalb Police Lt. Jason Leverton said he felt guns definitely need to be regulated. Police find people transporting guns illegally in DeKalb without a required Firearm Owner Identification (FOID) card, according to Leverton.

“I do think if criminals knew that more people were defending themselves they would think twice about committing crimes,” Leverton said.

Second ward alderman Tom Teresinski said the current system for gun purchases in Illinois is comprehensive, but that certain weapons, like semi-automatic guns, should be restricted.

“I think what you’re looking at is preventing mass killing situations,” Teresinski said. “Handguns are not going to be impacted very much.”

Dennis Leifheit, owner of ZZ Cops Gun Room, 1210 E. State St., Suite 5, in Sycamore, said the issue with gun control legislation is making sure it is followed.

“The laws that are there need to be enforced more vigorously,” Leifheit said. “Gun control takes guns away from the good guys. The bad guys won’t care, they are going to break the law anyways.”

Leverton and Leifheit agreed that gun ownership is a right, as is the right to protection.

“It’s important to safeguard that right,” Leverton said.


Obama’s 23-Point Plan

  1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.
  2. Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.
  3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.
  4. Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.
  5. Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.
  6. Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.
  7. Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.
  8. Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).
  9. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.
  10. Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.
  11. Nominate an ATF director.
  12. Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.
  13. Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.
  14. Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.
  15. Direct the attorney general to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to develop innovative technologies
  16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.
  17. Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.
  18. Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.
  19. Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.
  20. Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.
  21. Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.
  22. Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.
  23. Launch a national dialogue led by secretaries [Kathleen] Sebelius and [Arne] Duncan on mental health.

Incidents responded to involving weapons in 2012: (Information from the DeKalb Police Department)

59 involving blunt objects

55 involving knives

52 involving airgun or BB rifles

48 involving handguns

16 involving implied weapons

15 involving paintball guns

12 involving other weapons

4 involving shotguns

3 involving rifles

2 involving unknown weapons