NCDC panel examines local gun control laws

Sarah Tassoni, Reporter

Pro-gun control panelists and Northwestern students held a debate Thursday evening, discussing potential changes to current gun control laws and working at the state level to discuss gun violence.

As part of its Dialogues panels, the Northwestern Community Development Corps invited Colleen Daley, executive director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, and Marjorie Fujara, a pediatrician at John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital, to discuss proposed changes to current gun laws. Around 30 people attended the event, which took place in Harris Hall.

Daley, who has been working with senators in Springfield to pass a new law that would impose more restrictions on purchasing guns, said the main problem with guns in Chicago is that they are illegally trafficked in from other states, as there are no gun shops in the city. She said the bill she is advocating would require universal background checks, gun owners to report missing, lost, stolen or transferred firearms within 48 hours, licensing for dealers and titles for guns.

Fujara, who also works with gun control group Moms Demand Action, said guns on the streets are a “public health problem” and many children cannot go outside to exercise for fear of being shot.

“They have the right to bear arms, but my child has a right to be safe,” she said.

Both panelists agreed there should be an assault weapons ban, and Daley said the law she is advocating for would allow owners to have no more than 10 magazine clips on their person.

As far as conceal-and-carry laws go, the bill is what Daley calls a “may-issue” bill, where prospective gun owners would have to give a legitimate reason why they want to carry a gun. She said this decision would be left to local authorities.

When asked about guns on college campuses, both panelists said that they should not be allowed. Daley said this is something the National Rifle Association also agrees on.

The panelists also said that because of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December, gun control has become a hot topic, which Fujara said created an unlikely alliance between “white suburban mothers and urban mothers of color.”

“Unfortunately it took 20 kids being killed to change the dialogue,” Daley said.

At the moment, both speakers have been trying to make changes at the state and local levels because of the slow process of going through Washington, D.C. Daley said one way they are trying to do this is by empowering youth to take action in their communities.

Some students who attended the panel were satisfied with how it turned out, despite a third speaker who opposed gun control not being able to attend the event.

“I was disappointed that the third panelist couldn’t come, but it was nice that that some of the audience had contradictory opinions,” Weinberg sophomore Christian Keeve said.

Weinberg freshman Stephanie Kong said she was glad to see the panelists agree on such a controversial issue.

“I’m personally against guns, but it was nice to hear that they aren’t so polarized,” she said.