Opinion | Rex Ferrero: It's time for a new approach to address gun violence
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Opinion | Rex Ferrero: It's time for a new approach to address gun violence

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Rex Ferrero

Legitimate gun owners should not sit silently by as someone tries to take away their Constitutional rights by weakening or dismantling the Second Amendment under the guise of controlling gun violence.

Legal gun owners, or their guns, are not the problem.

On April 14, The Southern reported that Jody Pullen, 27, from Carbondale, was the suspect in an April 12 shooting outside of ABC Liquors in Carbondale. He was later found guilty of the charges related to that shooting. The Southern’s report went on to say that Mr. Pullen had previously pleaded guilty to felony domestic battery in 2018 and was also facing a recent domestic battery charge. A Southern update on April 19 reported that Mr. Pullen’s criminal record “shows a string of felonies including battery and weapons charges.”

Any one of these previous crimes kept Mr. Pullen from holding a legal FOID card, and without a FOID card, he was automatically disqualified from legally possessing a gun in Illinois.

This point cannot be overstated: Because of gun laws that were already in place, and that have been in place for years, Mr. Pullen could not legally possess a gun in Illinois. No matter the circumstances, Pullen could not, and should not, have had a gun in Carbondale that night.

So why or how could he have a gun? Because he simply ignored the law, illegally got another gun, and used it to commit another crime.

You can see this recurrent theme in other gun violence reports as well. A person who is prevented from legally possessing a gun because of previous criminal behavior, ignores the law, illegally gets a gun and then uses it to commit another crime.

There are other examples:

• A 35-year-old man was arrested and charged in connection to a Sept. 14 shooting in Carbondale in the 700 block of North Robert A. Stalls Avenue. The charges included aggravated unlawful use of weapons by a felon, and possession of a firearm without a FOID.

• A 38-year-old man was arrested in connection to an Oct. 20 shooting in Carbondale in the 600 block of West Main. He is facing a charge of unlawful use of weapons by a felon.

Taking into account existing gun laws, I ask you, what additional gun laws could have or would have prevented these acts? What new law could have been passed that convicted criminals would follow? There is a large and extensive network already in place to keep guns out of the wrong hands, and it’s not working. It’s being ignored.

While our politicians are promising new gun bans, and enacting new gun laws, their efforts are literally being laughed at by criminals. Just as a locked door only keeps out honest people, gun laws only restrict people who have a predisposition to obey gun laws. That would be the law-abiding gun owners. And since law-abiding gun owners are not a part of the gun violence problem, further restriction of their rights cannot be a part of the solution to reduce gun crime.

Gun control doesn’t control gun violence.

There's a saying: The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. That’s exactly what we have been doing. Enacting gun laws that convicted criminals ignore. Again and again. More and more restriction of legal gun owners' rights is not now, nor has it ever been, an effective tool to fight gun crime.

What we have been doing to stop gun violence is not working. It’s time for a new look, it’s time for a new approach, with some new ideas, to address gun violence.

Rex Ferrero, of Pinckneyville, is a recently retired machinist from Anheuser-Busch’s St. Louis Brewery. He teaches various industrial technology subjects at SWIC’s Granite City Campus as an adjunct instructor, and is an avid hunter and fisherman.



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