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Editorial: Guns’ real danger

Garry McCarthy | Sun-Times files

Garry McCarthy | Sun-Times files

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Updated: March 25, 2013 6:39AM

A hearing on Friday in Chicago on new Illinois gun legislation was a sobering rebuke to those who glibly assert firearms pose no danger to the public.

Among those testifying were some of the people who must deal with the reality of gun violence. They weren’t a bunch of liberal scolds.

A federal appeals court has told Illinois that the state must allow the concealed carrying of firearms. On Friday, the full court refused to reconsider the earlier ruling that Illinois’ concealed-carry ban is unconstitutional. The court gave the state until June 8 to craft a concealed carry law.

But the possibility that more people soon will be carrying guns is alarming many of those who don’t want gun violence to get worse.

At the hearing, Dr. Karen Sheeha, a pediatric emergency physician at Lurie Children’s Hospital, pointed out that parents sometimes become uncharacteristically aggressive with the people caring for their seriously ill or injured children. Allowing parents to be armed, she said, would endanger staff and patients.

Glenn Keefer, owner of Keefer’s Restaurant and a board member of the Illinois Restaurant Association, begged the members of the Illinois House Judiciary Committee, who were holding the hearing, not to allow guns where alcohol is served. Alcohol and firearms are a volatile mixture.

CTA President Forrest Claypool spoke out against a proposal to allow firearms on public transportation, saying, “That’s a recipe for disaster.”

Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said police already cannot keep up with gun trafficking in Cook County and need stricter laws, not a measure that gives inadequately trained people the right to carry concealed guns.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said guns shouldn’t be allowed in schools, nursing homes, churches or government-owned and operated buildings.

Backers of a concealed-carry law are in no mood to negotiate, saying they’ve been waiting long enough.

But the rest of us have long been waiting for saner gun laws that reduce violence. And we’re still waiting.

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