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Court ignored many gun safety issues
Letter to the Editor
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Published: 7/24/2010 12:01 AM

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As a retired federal law enforcement officer, I experienced firsthand handgun violence when my 20 year old brother Michael was fatally shot in a robbery aboard a CTA el in 1972. I have worked with families of handgun victims through programs both in the Cook County State's Attorney's Office and the Victim Advocacy Project in the Illinois attorney general's office. Most expressed the hope that our tolerance of guns in our society should be challenged.

In controversial decisions by the narrowest of margins, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the Second Amendment is about self-defense and guarantees the right of citizens to possess a gun in the home. The court talked a lot about "law-abiding people versus them criminals" but never mentioned handgun suicides, domestic shootings, children getting ahold of guns, guns getting stolen from the home, or gang members taking family guns for a drive-by shooting. It overlooked that these laws were passed and then were upheld by many court reviews over a period of 30 years.

We have bought into the NRA's culture that guns are the ultimate answer to all our social ills.

In the years ahead the courts will be inundated with cases about the Second Amendment pushed by both sides. And sooner or later there will be another Virginia Tech shooting, another Northern Illinois incident, or another political assassination. But these are just the blockbuster incidents that get our attention - not the dozens of daily shootings that barely make the paper. At some point America has another tradition: trying to work under sometimes onerous Constitutional limits and court decisions, but then finally opting to amend the Constitution and to change the court. Stay tuned.

Chester Kulis

Mount Prospect