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Gun-Control Laws Better Than Executive Order: Durbin

While visiting Fox Valley, senator says gun control is only part of the solution to mass violence.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin said Friday that he would rather see Congress arrive at a “sensible solution” on curbing gun violence than see the president issue some kind of executive order attempting to remedy the problem.

Still, in light of the power wielded by the NRA and the gun industry, which many congressmen will not stand up to, Durbin said he would support President Barack Obama if he does issue executive orders in an attempt to rein in gun violence. “Whatever it takes to keep our streets and schools safe, I’ll support,” he said.

“But I hope that we could do it in the the normal congressional process,” he added. “I know that it’s tough. I know the politics on this issue very, very well, and I know some of my colleagues are not prepared to deliver.”

Earlier this week, Vice President Joe Biden said the president is considering executive orders to in an effort to halt shootings like the one at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Conn., CNN reported earlier this week. The bloody massacre of 20 children and seven adults renewed attention on the gun-control debate. Last month, Obama said a new task force headed by Biden would return by the end of January with some solid recommendations for combatting the violence.

While Biden is talking executive orders, Durbin, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he believes a legislative solution is more appropriate and said there are options being floated in Washington that, “from the details I’m hearing, I think I can support.”

Durbin stopped in the Fox Valley on Friday to review Elgin Community College’s efforts to reduce student indebtedness. Also on Friday, he visited Rockford, where he met with law enforcement leaders to discuss the strategies being used there to reduce violent crime and prevent mass shootings in the area. The senator is visiting several communities where he has been hosting “listening sessions” to learn what law enforcement and residents believe needs to be done on the issue.

The ideas he has been gathering from those sessions include:

  • Gun control is not enough: Congress must pass legislation to combat mass shootings like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, but gun-control alone is not the solution. There are a variety of issues that come into play with the kind of violence that occurred at Newtown and at other communities, including mental health issues.
  • Tougher state gun laws: There already are stringent federal laws in place related to gun violence, and Durbin said that states likewise need tougher laws. Criminals, he said, generally fear federal prosecution on weapons charges because the penalties are so much more severe than state laws.

In that regard, Durbin said, the people need to begin hearing more from law enforcement and sportsmen — “people who use guns legally and responsibly, they need to speak out,” he said.

Durbin said he would support an assault rifle ban, as well as a ban on the large clips for such weapons. Some clips designed for assault rifles can hold 100 rounds of ammunition. Most sportsmen would agree, he said, that no hunter needs to have an assault rifle with an extended clip.

In addition, he said that on Thursday, a gangbanger in Chicago tried to use an Uzi against a police officer, but the weapon jammed on the first shot. The clip, he said, held 31 more rounds. Those types of weapons and those types of clips do not need to be on the streets, except in the hands of law enforcement or the military.

  • Background checks: He said background checks are needed on every gun buyer, yet 40 percent of guns sold in the United States are sold at gun shows where there background checks are not conducted. That’s a significant loophole in a law intended to prevent the sale of firearms to felons. But someone with mental illness also could take advantage of these unregulated sales.
  • Crack down on straw purchases: Durbin said straw purchasers legally can buy large numbers of guns but then turn around and sell them individually with no oversight to ward against felons or the mentally ill making purchases. That, Durbin said, should be a serious felony carrying heavy penalties.
  • Educating ex-offenders: In terms recidivism among prison inmates, Durbin said educational opportunities are needed to help ensure they will have a better shot at finding a job when they leave prison, rather than returning to crime when they cannot find work. He said some are illiterate.

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Ron January 12, 2013 at 01:04 PM
I think EXECUTIVE ORDER should be revoked! All E.O. does is turn the presidency into a dictatorship.Giving power like this to one person shouldn't happen in a democracy,that is what Congress is for!And this president(and I use the term loosely)is E.O. Happy!Using it to cover up gun running schemes,making end runs around Congress,you name it! It's time to put a stop to this madness!This should all be done by Congressional Commitee.Not by someone wanting to ram some stupid willy-nilly legislation down our throats without at least some intelligent rhetoric beforehand.But what do I know,I'm just a red blooded american gun owner who has absolutely no say in this matter because everyone's mind is already made up!THE GUN DID IT! OMG! WE MUST DESTROY ALL THE GUNS! 27 adults & 19 children were killed by a landslide in China.Are they going to ban landslides? C'mon people......................
Brian January 12, 2013 at 02:11 PM
nded clip. In addition, he said that on Thursday," a gangbanger in Chicago tried to use an Uziagainst a police officer, but th e weapon jammed on the first shot. The clip, he said, held 31 more rounds. Those types of weapons and those types of clips do not need to be on the streets, except in the hands of law enforcement or the military." Proof his idea of gun control doesn't work. Chicago has the toughest gun laws in the nation and I am sure this thug did not buy his Uzi at the local gun shop. They only want to disarm the law abiding citizens.
John January 17, 2013 at 04:27 PM
You all forget we live in a republic. We have the constitution and it needs to be followed. I keep on hearing we live in a democracy. Wake up people. I think the only reasonable restriction given would be to require all gun owners to own and use gun safes when the owner isn't home and to have there property alarmed by a alarm service company. This may prevent some of the criminals from getting their hands on guns.

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