Gun control: triggering the nation

The nation divides after recent events involving the argument for gun control

Magnus Swanson, Reporter

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The issue of gun control and gun violence continues to be a controversial issue in Rockford, and in Illinois as a whole. According to the Chicago Tribune, recently at Mattoon High School in Illinois a student attempted a shooting, but failed as a nearby teacher subdued him. He managed to fire a few shots  but no one was injured.

According to the FBI, roughly 60% of all guns in Illinois come in—either legally or illegally—from out of state. According to Business Insider, only 26.2% of the Illinois population are legally registered gun owners, almost 10% less than most of the states that border Illinois, with the exception of Missouri.

“Typical crimes are committed with stolen registered firearms,” said Officer Brian Washo, Guilford police officer.

In recent years, Illinois has loosened its policies on gun control.  Chicago had an outright ban on handguns from 1982 until 2010, before the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional, according to National Public Radio. One year before the law was removed, there were 449 gun homicides. A year after the ban was lifted, the amount of homicides dropped to 433, not much but still noticeable. This suggests a slight decrease in homicides after gun control was removed. To legally sell guns, a seller is required to have a federal firearms license, but a 2015 study by the University of Chicago suggested that only 11% of guns crimes in Chicago were purchased through federally licensed gun dealers.

“Gun control has to become a national issue,” said Mr. Mrizek, criminal law teacher. “That’s the reason why guns come into Illinois from states with weaker gun laws. (In the case of the Mattoon High School student) the student that attempted the shooting aimed at other students before he was taken down by his teacher. All he got was aggravated battery with a firearm.”

Other countries have attempted to control gun ownership, with varying levels of success. For example, the crime prevention research center shows a gun ban was imposed in Ireland in 1972. A year before the ban took effect, there were only 0.3 gun homicides per 100,000 people. One year later, there were 1.6 homicides per 100,000. From then on homicides in Ireland grew drastically. However, Japan has had a complete ban on weapons since 1958 and its proven to work. In fact, Japan has limited its gun homicides down to 10 or less a year.

“(In Illinois) there is a waiting period when buying a gun that lasts about two to three days,” said Aaron Johnson, junior. “They also do a background check. I think they should make the checks even more rigorous because of these shootings.”

The Second Amendment was adopted December 15, 1791. The Founding Fathers created it for the defense against tyranny in the name of freedom. The United States had just secured its freedom from England and didn’t want to suffer another despotic government created by ourselves. The Second Amendment states, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” However, gun ownership and gun violence, as seen here in Rockford as well as the nation as a whole, remains a controversial topic.

“The reason there’s so many shootings is a social one,” said Officer Washo. “The majority of gun owners are good people. Guns are just like drugs, hard to control.”