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Gun control advocates stand firm on new Cook County firearm tax

While Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle spoke about county's firearms tax these families gun violence (l-r) Becky DeaKyne Siu

While Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle spoke about county's firearms tax, these families of gun violence, (l-r) Becky DeaKyne, Siu Mox and Camiella Williams,holding photos of family members, victims of gun violence at St.Pius Catholic Church 1919 S. Ashland Ave., Monday, April 1, 2013. | John H. White~Sun-Times

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Updated: April 2, 2013 12:12AM

Yolan Henry doesn’t expect new gun laws — “common sense or otherwise” — to change the minds of Second Amendment advocates.

The mother and grandmother of two victims of gun violence said statistics show a rise in urban and rural violence and a “rage against the system.” But she said they don’t show the “many mothers, fathers, siblings, family members and friends” who mourn people killed by guns.

Henry’s daughter, Nova, and granddaughter, Ava, were shot and killed in January 2009.

“We are real,” Henry said.

Henry joined Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle on Monday at St. Pius V Parish to support the county’s new $25 tax on all firearms purchases in the county that went into effect this week.

It was approved by county commissioners as part of the larger 2013 county budget.

“I know this tax will not unilaterally solve the violence issue that we face in Chicago and Cook County,” Preckwinkle said, “but it’s a piece of the puzzle.”

The anticipated $600,000 in revenue from the new tax will help the county’s health and hospital system, Preckwinkle said. About 30 percent of trauma patients last year at Stroger Hospital were gunshot victims, she said, and each cost taxpayers about $52,000 to treat.

Last month, a group of Chicago area firearms dealers and owners sued over the tax, claiming it violates their constitutional rights. Preckwinkle said that group failed to secure an injunction from a judge to temporarily stop the tax, and she said “we don’t calculate whether or not people are going to sue us when we look at reasonable gun policies.”

Commissioner Larry Suffredin has also denied it will cost the county extra money to fight the lawsuit because the state’s attorney is already on retainer. “We try to do what’s right and what we think is reasonable,” Preckwinkle said, “and then we defend ourselves in court.”

Contributing: Lisa Donovan

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