ENGLEWOOD — As President Barack Obama announced strict new gun controls nationwide Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) visited one of the neighborhoods devastated the most by gun violence to voice his support.
Durbin met with Englewood residents at Teamwork Englewood, 815 W. 63rd St., where he shared his thoughts on gun violence.
“We know this issue all too well in Illinois,” Durbin said. “There were 2,939 people shot in Chicago last year, and families and communities are suffering. We’ve got to do something.”
Of those people shot in Chicago in 2015, 423 were killed, data compiled by DNAinfo Chicago (there were a total of 484 murders by any means in the city).
Background checks have blocked more than 2 million gun sales over the years, Durbin said, but people still find loopholes. Sales take place at gun shows and online with no checks, he said. Durbin believes the president’s proposed actions could block even more gun sales.
Obama's new executive actions include requiring background checks before a sale can take place no matter whether it takes place at a store, over the internet or at a gun show. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) will require sellers to get a license and conduct background checks.
The ATF has also created an Internet Investigation Center that will track all illegal online firearms trafficking called the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network.
The Obama Administration is also proposing a new $500-million investment to increase access to mental health care and wants the Departments of Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security to conduct or sponsor research into gun safety technology.
“The president has a list of things he can do — it won’t solve all these problems by a long shot, but it moves us in the right direction,” Durbin said. “I appreciate his efforts to do more to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people while ensuring that Second Amendment rights are protected. “
Perry Gunn, Teamwork Englewood's executive director, said he agrees with Obama’s proposed actions.
“It’s a right step in the right direction,” he said.
He said the actions, for Englewood residents could, will "help them in their neighborhood,” Gunn said.
Ald. Willie Cochran (20th) said he’s “delighted” with Obama’s proposed plan for mental health treatment because the support is needed in communities such as Englewood.
“Mental health dollars have been removed from mental health agencies throughout the country for over 30 years now,” he said. “This is the first president who has talked about increasing the dollars associated with the mental health treatment.”
Cochran said he’s also an advocate for harsher penalties. Access to guns comes too easy, he said.
“You can find gun show sales ... in adjourning states. You drive over, carry the money with you, go and purchase your guns, put them in your car and come back here and sell them on the street, no identification necessary.”
“I appreciate [President Obama’s] efforts to do more to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people while ensuring that Second Amendment rights are protected,” Durbin said.
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