Amid Mass Shootings, Federal and State Gun Laws Grow More Strict

In recent high-profile mass shootings in Buffalo, NY, Uvalde, TX, and Highland Park, IL, the shooter was able to bypass red flag laws and other restrictions on purchasing weapons that should have ostensibly prevented the shootings. Since these shooters were able to legally purchase the guns, lawmakers are scratching their heads as to what can be legally done next. Most of the reform-minded approaches include closing loopholes in existing laws, or allowing law enforcement to move more quickly on actionable cases. Some of the legislation also includes provisions such as requiring firearms safety training for anyone who purchases a gun. The legislation would further restrict gun access for those who are accused of domestic violence. The proposal would prevent those individuals from accessing guns for two years.

Today, gun legislation in the view of some is too weak. In the eyes of others it punishes legal gun owners for the actions of a few. An example of this is that currently, a family member accused, but not convicted, of domestic violence can surrender their weapon to someone else in their family, even if that individual resides in their home. New laws would ban possession of weapons in the home of a person accused of domestic violence even if the remaining persons in the home were all legal gun owners.

Will Stricter Gun Laws Reduce Gun Crimes?

Most of the gun legislation we have is governed by the Second Amendment. Legislators must work around the constitutional protections in place since the founding of the republic. Chicago and Cook County have tried to broadly pass legislation making it illegal for citizens to carry concealed weapons. However, this law was deemed unconstitutional by the Courts for being violative of the constitution and federal law. A proposed revised provision would reinstate the ban on concealed carry in specific “high-traffic” locations.

Other proposals include increasing the effectiveness of “microstamping,” which allows forensic experts to track a bullet to a specific gun. Each bullet would have an alphanumeric code printed on it that could trace the casing to a gun and back to its owner. The proposed legislation would make it illegal to possess guns that do not microstamp shell casings.

But if any of this was effective, then why hasn’t Chicago’s increased focus on weapons crimes resulted in fewer fatalities? Proponents of gun legislation say that the current state by state focus is a bit like smoking on a plane. While you can designate part of the plane as a legal smoking area, the smoke tends to travel to other parts of the plane. In this case, the accusation is that other states with weaker gun laws are providing Chicago’s streets with all the guns it needs. Hence, the legislation has not been effective at reducing gun crime, a fact noted by politicians and states that want to prevent further barriers to legal gun owners purchasing weapons. They question why current criminal laws are not being used by politicians in those higher crime areas to prosecute and imprison those who possess and use illegal weapons.

Meanwhile, efforts to pass mandatory finger-printing bills for FOID registration have failed in the state legislature. Since every FOID holder in Illinois currently has their criminal and mental health background run 365 days a year by the Illinois State Police, it is highly unlikely fingerprinting will further heighten the protections sought by the proponents of this legislation. It is clear that none of this legislation will deter people that are not allowed to purchase weapons as the overwhelming majority of weapons offenders do not possess a FOID card

Talk to a Chicago Weapons Charges Attorney Today

If you need representation for a criminal charge in Cook County, Glasgow & Olsson is uniquely qualified to help. When you need an attorney, experience matters. Contact us today to learn how our experience can get you the results you deserve.

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