Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=215144
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Idyli Tsakiri Karatzaferi/MEDILL

No one -- even his supporters -- was completely happy with President Obama's latest gun proposals this week.


Obama pleases no one with new call on gun restrictions

by Idyli Tsakiri Karatzaferi
Feb 6, 2013


President Obama said this week that Congress should vote up or down on banning assault weapons, and called for universal background checks for gun owners.
In a speech in Minneapolis on Monday, he stated that the ban on military-style assault weapons should be restored as well as the 10-round limit for magazines.
Some say he’s gone too far, others say he hasn’t gone far enough. 
“He doesn’t know what he is talking about,” said John Boch, president of Guns Save Life, a branch of the Illinois Rifle Association. “Gun control is racist, and the only thing that stops bad people with evil in their hearts is good people with a gun.”
The president is cleverly trying to distract the American public from the real problems like unemployment and the economy. It is a manufactured crisis, Boch said.
“Chicago has the strictest gun laws in Illinois and the highest crime rate. The president’s proposal will do nothing to solve the crime problem,” he said. “It will make it worse.”
The rifle association’s executive director, Richard Pearson, said, “We have a huge criminal problem and that is translated into a problem with firearms.”
People, he said, should have guns to protect themselves. According to Pearson, it has been proved that in cities that more people own firearms the crime rates are lower than cities in which there are fewer guns. “More firearms is less crime,” he added.
“A person, in self-defense, needs more than a 10-round magazine because he is usually assaulted by more than one person,” Pearson said.
The National Rifle Association also stands against Obama’s ideas. “We are disappointed by the fact that there were no new ideas,” said Jacqueline Otto, NRA spokeswoman. “That means that he hasn’t learned the lesson from Chicago, that higher gun control only stops lawful citizens, not the criminals.”
Chicago certainly has a problem with violence, which is getting worse over the years, said Kate Williamson, program director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence.
“There is not one thing that can be done; it is a combination of things that have to be done,” Williamson said. “Guns are so incredibly lethal and impersonal.”
However, Williamson is in favor of the Obama proposals. “Our organization takes the same stand. I absolutely agree that [the measures are] part of the solution.”
“It is not reasonable for an individual to own that kind of a weapon; they are designed for military use,” Williamson said.
The Chicago Police Department also supports the president.
“The City of Chicago continues to advocate for commonsense gun laws to keep illegal weapons out of our communities, hold criminals fully accountable for their conduct, and to make legal gun owners responsible for their weapons,” said Melissa Stratton, director of News Affairs for the police.
“Universal background checks and a ban on assault weapons and extended magazines are reasonable measures that can have a real impact on safety in our communities,” Stratton added.