The McHenry County Board is debating a resolution calling for the repeal of the Protect Illinois Communities Act. Some board members’ ire is directed towards the act’s provisions banning future sales of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. The gun lobby has attempted to overturn this piece of common-sense gun legislation. Unfortunately, State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally, County Sheriff Robb Tadelman, and County Board Chairman Michael Buehler have bowed to this pressure and are attempting to pass a divisively worded resolution to further the gun lobby’s goals.
There are two rationales given for the repeal. First, these weapons are needed for self-protection. This rationale is based on the false assumption that weapons keep us safe. If this were the case, the U.S. would be the safest country in the world since its 330 million population possesses 393.3 million weapons. That makes the U.S. the only country in the world with more civilian-owned firearms than people. The level of gun violence in the U.S. is on par with nations beset by drug wars, human trafficking, and political instability. A second reason cited is the Second Amendment, which the gun lobby inaccurately maintains gives citizens the right to own any weapon and present it wherever they want. But for over 200 years, the Supreme Court has placed reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions on the Second Amendment. For example, I can’t shoot rounds from my AR-15 in my backyard or take it into a government building.
Where does it all end? Senators Durbin and Duckworth recently called upon the Federal Trade Commission to investigate an Illinois-based company that’s marketing tactical-style weapons to children who legally can’t buy firearms. The company, Wee 1 Tactical, is looking to cultivate future markets to continue the country’s endless cycle of gun violence. Due to the level of firearms in circulation, it will take decades to reduce gun violence and stop the mass shootings that are defining the nation. But we must start somewhere. Let’s start in McHenry County by contacting our county board members and persuading them to vote against the resolution to repeal the Protect Illinois Communities Act.