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Readers: Curb Gun Violence By Controlling Criminals

We asked, you chimed in. Patch readers suggested various ways of fighting gun violence, from handing out tougher sentences to criminals who use guns to looking at the side-effects of psychiatric drugs.

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?

Lee Nysted January 14, 2013 at 08:07 PM
The countries like Japan that have programs in place to curb gun violence and, in fact, have statistically near no human deaths from guns should be models for the rest of the free world. Europe also enjoys nearly a void of gun related human deaths. There is, of course, a reason for the above real time statistics...most civilized nations have strict gun laws. Any way we look at it, the U.S.A. is a disaster when it comes to gun related deaths, albeit we perpetually put our heads in the sand because of insane paranoid 2nd amendment rights thinking. Now is the time to change that ... once again. Military and police style weapons must be banned from our streets and criminal penalties for holding or keeping same should be enforced. Further, any hunter that requires more than a few rounds to mark and make a kill is in need of some schooling. Hand guns are designed to kill people. Control them. Strict and tougher records must be done much as we do with passports and driver's licenses. Photo ID to vote? Same with buying a gun. More later... : )
Gary January 14, 2013 at 08:26 PM
I spent some time in Japan. As I drove around I noticed bars on a lot of first floor windows. I asked about that and they said there was a lot of break-in crime, so many people put bars on their windows. In the US, only the worst neighborhoods have any bars on windows. You don't see any bars on farmhouse windows. It's cheaper to buy a $500 gun than it is to put bars on all your windows.
jkerr January 14, 2013 at 08:50 PM
I'd rather have bars on my windows than read that the slaughter of children by gunfire in the United States is 25 times the rate of the 20 next largest industrial countries in the world combined.
Gary January 14, 2013 at 08:57 PM
Then move to Japan. This country guarantees everyone the right to own a gun. The Supreme Court said so. We have to live with Obama Care or leave the country. You have to live with guns or leave the country.
RB January 14, 2013 at 09:20 PM
He didn't say he does not think you have the right to own a gun, he said he does not want to own a gun. You gun guys think the boogie man is coming for your guns, and that's not happening. Hopefully, no gun show loophole, individual sale tracking (like tracking the sale of a car), better background checks, no high capacity clips, and no assault weapons will happen! Survivalists have purchased more guns than they will ever use, now get your MRE's, bottled water and ham radios and you're all set. Repeat, they are not coming for your guns.
millie January 14, 2013 at 10:12 PM
Seems there has been a couple cases recently were a parent shot there own grown up child coming into the house thinking it was a break in
Gary January 14, 2013 at 11:33 PM
Their definition of an "assault weapon" is any semi-automatic gun. This will make a huge number of handguns already out there illegal. Most people think they're just talking about those big menacing rifles with black pointy things sticking out everywhere. No. If they pass an "assault weapon" ban, then it will be very close to a full ban on guns, and it will make many, many gun owners immediate criminals... which is really the whole goal of this. In this day of "you won't know what's in it until after it passes" style of legislating, no one should risk having Democrats writing any laws regarding gun control. They simply can not be trusted.
Ed60062 January 15, 2013 at 12:58 AM
For those who are willing to give up or change the second amendment, how about giving up or changing the fourth instead? The fourth gives criminals the right to carry weapons and contraband without fear of search and seizure. It is the fourth amendment that prevents police from getting guns out of the hands of criminals. Given the hundreds of shootings in Chicago alone I think it not unreasonable to search everyone on the street in high-crime areas.
Carl Castrogiovanni January 15, 2013 at 03:26 AM
Sorry, Lee. Gun-involved crime may be lower, but violent crime in general is MUCH higher in countries with strict gun restrictions. I'll take gun rights with overall lower violent crime ANY day...
Carl Castrogiovanni January 15, 2013 at 03:31 AM
"RB" is just another of so many people who post about guns and gun owners with so little actual knowledge. I have multiple guns because I need different guns and different calibers for different game animals (not to mention different target shooting opportunities). I'm not a survivalist, but I AM someone who, through experience, knows the value of self-defense, and self-reliance. In other words, I'm a maker, not a taker. Takers like gun restrictions...
HOLLY SIGMAN January 15, 2013 at 08:08 AM
We need to address mental health in this country.That's the real issue
Malta January 15, 2013 at 01:04 PM
Does anyone really think that some "law" is est be able to going to magically cause millions of guns to be turned in? Reminds me of the ongoing " efforts" to get Illinois pension/budget under " control". As the country descends into a Greek style economic chaos. I suggest you best be able to protect yourself....you will need to be able to shoot out between those bars on the windows you WISH you had...
Jack Straw January 15, 2013 at 02:35 PM
I said this once I will say it again. From Laure Dann in 1988 to Adam Lanza 2012 there is one big common thread, psychiatric drugs. Over 90% of the mass shootings have a direct correlation to some form of psychiatric medication. Before mass hysteria leads to years of political fighting, why not look at all the possibilities. A normal kid could be sitting on a mountain of guns and would never hurt another creature. Fact: Between 2004 and 2011, there have been over 11,000 reports to the U.S. FDA’s MedWatch system of psychiatric drug side effects related to violence. These include 300 cases of homicide, nearly 3,000 cases of mania and over 7,000 cases of aggression. Note: By the FDA’s own admission, only 1-10% of side effects are ever reported to the FDA.
jkerr January 15, 2013 at 03:04 PM
Sorry Carl but you are wrong. The Harvard Injury Control Research Center assessed the literature on guns and homicide and found that there’s substantial evidence that indicates more guns means more murders. This holds true whether you’re looking at different countries or different states. http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/hicrc/firearms-research/guns-and-death/
jkerr January 15, 2013 at 03:07 PM
The United States has the highest rate of gun ownership in the world — by far. And it has the highest rate of homicides with guns among advanced countries. http://factcheck.org/2012/12/gun-rhetoric-vs-gun-facts/
Gary January 15, 2013 at 03:23 PM
The Democrats aren't interested in the mental illness aspect of this because they can't demonize their political enemies with that issue. If you look closely at what's happening you will notice that they are not coming after guns... they are coming after gun owners. Their image of a gun owner is a knuckle dragging red-neck caricature of a human being who is just waiting to shoot anyone who doesn't look like they do. We read that all the time right here. They HATE gun owners and they want to turn them all into criminals with the wave of the executively privileged hand. Of course this is a mental health issue. The country was full of guns 50 years ago and we didn't have these massacres. Something's changed and it isn't the guns. We need to figure it out, but don't expect any help from our Democratic friends. As usual, they're using this crisis to build their political base, and hurt their enemies. It's disgusting.
McCloud January 15, 2013 at 03:34 PM
Your're correct something has changed. For Obama and company it is all about political victory, since they are obviously impotent at solutions for our country. They can see that the weakly informed easily shaped by media make up the majority that put them in power, so they continue to exploit.
Carl Castrogiovanni January 15, 2013 at 03:40 PM
Sorry, IMHO, no sale. I trust our own federal crime stat database rather than some partisan hack outfit like 'factcheck'. Areas with the highest LEGAL gun ownership (including mostly semi-autos) have the lowest violent crime - typically rural. Areas with the strictesct gun laws (e.g. Chicago, D.C.) have the highest violent crime rates. Less than 2% of gun crimes involve assault weapons. Eight of the past nine mass shootings in the U.S. have involved mentally ill gunmen.
jkerr January 15, 2013 at 03:47 PM
Carl - factcheck.org is a nonpartisan, nonprofit consumer advocate for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. Harvard University is also not a "partisan hack outfit". Clearly the facts have no impact on your thinking. What are your sources?
Malta January 15, 2013 at 05:06 PM
Political correctness. Will be the death of us all.....
jkerr January 15, 2013 at 06:04 PM
if the guns don't get us first.
Ed60062 January 15, 2013 at 06:06 PM
IMHO, your Factcheck article says the homicide rate from guns has been falling in recent years.
John Brinkmann January 15, 2013 at 06:14 PM
all current proposed laws to control sale and ownership of guns in America is nothing more than meaningless legislation for certain politicians to show their anti gun constituents they (supposedly) did something about curbing gun violence in America...the bottom line is were a gun nation that takes gun ownership by law abiding citizens very seriously...neither side of the political fence has any genuine desire to mess with 2nd amendment rights---they know it will cost them votes and thats all they care about
Paul Cohen January 16, 2013 at 01:09 AM
Gun control works! Look at Chicago. Not!

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