Nearly a month after the horrific Newtown shootings, many people, regardless of their politics, are trying to figure out what they can each do to prevent similar tragedies in the future.
We invited readers to join our discussion on How Can We Each Fight Gun Violence? And many readers said curbing gun violence isn’t about getting rid of guns instead it starts with controlling criminals and handing out tougher sentences.
“Get rid of guns and you still have a crime problem. Get rid of criminals, and you won't have to worry about guns,” Patch reader Carl Castrogiovanni wrote.
Patch reader Jim says most people are not violent, “If you want to change the violence for the better, the culture will have to change and the [police] don't have the cajones to lead on that …. Passing laws to control the majority who are not the problem will not solve the problem.”
Hand Out Tougher Sentences
“Gun violence starts with the criminal, who usually is convicted and has a record of using a gun for bad reasons. Gun control legislation is like an attempt to rid the world of cockroaches or mosquitoes, it has shown to be ineffective over and over again,” Patch reader McCloud wrote. “Imposing a surplus of years on top of sentences for convicted crimes easily solves the gun problem.”
One reader wondered why Illinois judicial system puts criminals back on the street time and again.
“We can add 1000 police, but if our elected judges put those the police catch back on the street, nothing will be accomplished,” Patch reader KC wrote.
Why Are We Making So Many Guns?
Patch readers Dan says there are not enough criminals in the U.S. to justify gun manufacturing on the scale it is occurring. Between 2010 and 2011, the number of guns made in the U.S. rose 16 percent to 6.4 million guns, according to The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Forbes reported.
“If we really believe in the a market economy, then the cause for gun violence in our streets, homes, and schools is our neighbors who turn over their hard earned dollars to companies that manufacture weapons,” Dan wrote.
Patch reader Old H.P. blames gun violence on psychiatric drugs, writing, “Over 90% of the mass shootings have a direct correlation to some form of psychiatric medication. A normal kid could be sitting on a mountain of guns and would never hurt another creature.”
Gun Violence Tax
In November 2012, Cook County approved a gun tax to defray costs of violence, imposing a $25 tax on each firearm sold, Reuters reported. Back in October we asked Patch readers Should Gun Buyers Face Violence Tax? In our poll, more than 70 percent of Patch readers voted no, we should not punish law-abiding gun owners for the actions of criminals.
Many politicians have voiced what they think could be done to curb gun violence, including several North Shore village mayors and presidents who recently joined Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to call for stronger gun regulation as part of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a coalition aimed at cracking down on illegal guns.
For a full list of politicians’’ ideas to control gun violence, read How Can We Each Fight Gun Violence?