AFTER VEGAS: Divisions remain on how to respond to gun crimes

AFTER VEGAS: Divisions remain on how to respond to gun crimes

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Democratic congressional candidates in Illinois' 13th District, which includes Champaign-Urbana, voiced cautious support Monday for gun control measures, including restrictions on purchases by those with a history of mental illness.

But incumbent Rep. Rodney Davis, a Taylorville Republican, declined to address the issue, saying he didn't want to "politicize a tragedy."

Davis, who has been endorsed by the National Rifle Association and has supported many NRA positions, released the following statement:

"Families from across our nation are mourning the loss of nearly 60 of their loved ones, praying for the recovery of hundreds more who were injured, and thanking God that countless others are safe. I join these families in prayer and condemn this senseless act of violence. As someone who recently experienced a gun attack, I will never politicize a tragedy, and I am disappointed by those who do," he said.

"Today is a time for prayer, for mourning, for recognizing the heroic acts of first responders and others, and for uniting as Americans. We can have policy discussions another day."

Davis was on a baseball field in Alexandria, Va., in June when James Hodgkinson, an Illinois resident, opened fire on Republican members of Congress and critically wounded House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., and injured four other people. Davis later appeared on several national television news shows to decry "political hateful rhetoric."

Meanwhile, Urbana Democrat Jon Ebel, one of four challengers to Davis, said Monday that he supported mandatory background checks for gun purchasers and other "reasonable restrictions."

"The big thing is that I would support talking about gun control consistently, not just when there is a horrific incident like this, because the reality is that about 90 people die as a result of gun violence every week. So what we saw yesterday, as horrible as it is, is a weekly occurrence, although it doesn't always happen in one place," said Ebel, a University of Illinois professor of religion.

"I support mandatory background checks for those who are buying guns and the sorts of reasonable restrictions — those who have a history of, or who are under restraining orders for domestic violence, not being able to have guns. And those with a history of mental illness," he said.

"I think the vast majority of Americans find those gun positions acceptable and don't see them at all in conflict with the Second Amendment, which lays out very clearly the right to keep and bear arms. But like any right, it's not an absolute right. It's not a right that trumps the safety and wellbeing of all Americans."

David Gill, a Bloomington physician who in the past has called himself pro-gun, said he supports "background checks on every purchase, without exception. I also support banning the sale of gun magazines that hold more than 10 rounds at a time."

And Democrat Betsy Londrigan of Springfield said "doing nothing should not be an option."

"Today, my thoughts are with the victims of the horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas and their families who now have had their lives forever altered," she said in a statement. "I am in awe of and deeply grateful for the bravery demonstrated by law enforcement and first responders. Unfortunately, we face days like this in our country all too often — waking up to reports of senseless violence — and fearing that Washington politicians won't do the hard work necessary to unify us and make us safer."

She said that while there is "a history of responsible gun ownership for sport, hunting and self-protection, it's clear that we have a real problem in our country.

"Democrat, Republican, gun owner, non-gun owner — we can work together to uphold our Constitutional rights and protect our communities from those who intend to do harm with their weapons. We can close loopholes allowing criminals and the dangerously mentally ill to purchase firearms. We can make sure those experiencing mental health issues have access to quality care and affordable insurance to maintain treatment. One thing that is clear is that doing nothing should not be an option."

Erik Jones of Edwardsville did not respond to emails seeking comment.

Ebel said that he grew up among outdoorsmen in Minnesota and wouldn't want to restrict their rights.

"They're people who went hunting every November when deer hunting season opened. They're wonderful people. They would never hurt a flea," he said.

And he noted that the 13th District is filled with gun owners, both Republicans and Democrats.

"I think this is something that really matters in our district because Democratic voters are not a monolith," he said. "It's definitely an issue that people are concerned about and I do hear about it."

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tfdofficer wrote on October 03, 2017 at 8:10 am

"about 90 people die as a result of gun violence every week", Democrats are two-faced.  How many abortions occur every week at the hands of law abiding doctors and technicians.  It's not the lawful gun owners that are killing the children, it is abortion because "we don't want to be parents today".

JohnRalphio wrote on October 03, 2017 at 10:10 am

That's an intentional, emotional derail. The issue is whether or not sensible gun laws would decrease shooting deaths in this nation. Obviously, they would, and most people want them. It's just a handful of gun nuts who will refuse to listen to reason.

Dread Pirate DNT wrote on October 04, 2017 at 6:10 pm
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Lol I can't tell if this is satire or not.

GLG wrote on October 04, 2017 at 8:10 pm

2/3 of these are suicide by gun.

Innocent_Primate wrote on October 03, 2017 at 12:10 pm

You’re equating licensed professionals performing a lawful act (not only here but in many nations) with those who unlawfully mow down folks with high powered weaponry (actions outlawed, as far as I can tell, in virtually all nations) ?

rsp wrote on October 03, 2017 at 1:10 pm

Media coverage is a known factor in copycats who want to outdo the last shooter. Yet it seems every news outlet is going all out with the trend of covering anything and everything they can find for days on end. Even on this site you can listen to the rapidfire and the carnage of people screaming. People dying. A tragedy turned into clickbait.

Somewhere someone is loving every second of the suffering and the outrage. Somewhere someone wants to have all that "glory", because that's what cowards do.

It's the same with school shooters. Less coverage is better.

Objective Reporter wrote on October 04, 2017 at 3:10 pm

I agree with less coverage.  How about less coverage and more gun control?

BruckJr wrote on October 04, 2017 at 8:10 pm

I generally agree with you on the media coverage.  In this age of 24 hour instantaneous coverage they will do whatever they think will enhance their ratings.  Regarding the ongoing media coverage, though, that seems to depend upon the political advantage to be taken.  See Dylann Roof vs. Emanuel Kidega Samson.

David Prochaska wrote on October 05, 2017 at 12:10 pm

Rodney Davis is a despicable human being.

He voted time and again to “repeal and replace” Obamacare, claiming he was improving healthcare. The proof? His wife is a cancer survivor -- as he never tired of telling us -- so he would never, ever, vote for worse healthcare. This is twisted.

After Las Vegas he, along with every other Congressional Republican, says, “now is not the time” to talk about gun control. He again plays up his presence on the Congressional baseball shooting field in June for all it’s worth. Not only is “now not the time,” but he has the gall to attack those calling for Congressional Republicans to do something, sanctimoniously saying, “As someone who recently experienced a gun attack, I will never politicize a tragedy, and I am disappointed by those who do."

He claims the moral high ground – “I was there” -- and criticizes others into silence, saying in effect “I have experienced a gun attack and you haven’t, but I am not speaking out now and you shouldn’t either.” Rodney Davis is twisted.

--Congressional Repubs say “now is not the time”

GOP leaders say no action will be taken on gun legislation Matthew DalyAssociated Press October 3, 2017

--These same Republicans disproportionately receive the overwhelming majority of money from the NRA®ion=Marginalia&pgtype=article

The Congress Members Receiving the Most NRA Funding By DAVID LEONHARDT, IAN PRASAD PHILBRICK and STUART A. THOMPSON OCT. 4, 2017

--Instead of a lone crazy, if only Paddock had been a Muslim, we know all that would have been said and all the actions that would have been taken.®ion=Footer&module=MoreInSection&version=WhatsNext&contentID=WhatsNext&pgtype=article

If Only Stephen Paddock Were a Muslim Thomas L. Friedman OCT. 3, 2017

--There are common sense actions that can be taken. “In every other sphere, we at least use safety regulations to try — however imperfectly — to reduce death and injury.” Eight specific suggestions that have the potential to reduce gun deaths by nearly one-third.

Preventing Mass Shootings Like the Vegas Strip Attack Nicholas Kristof OCT. 2, 2017

--We need to fight against the NRA chokehold. “In the confines of the members-only elevators, where my colleagues could speak honestly, I heard colleagues confide that any vote for gun safety would lower their N.R.A. scores, making them casualties in the next election.”®ion=Footer&module=MoreInSection&version=WhatsNext&contentID=WhatsNext&pgtype=article

Nothing Will Change After the Las Vegas Shooting By STEVE ISRAEL OCT. 2, 2017

--Conclusion: Democrats could do more, but Republicans like Rodney Davis exhibit only moral turpitude. Now is the time not only to talk, but to act.

Now Is the Time to Talk About Guns David Leonhardt OCT. 2, 2017