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Donne Trotter’s gun is worse than his stupidity

State Sen. Donne Trotter leaves after posting bond Cook County Criminal Courts Building Chicago Ill. Thursday December 6 2012. |

State Sen. Donne Trotter leaves after posting bond at the Cook County Criminal Courts Building in Chicago, Ill., on Thursday, December 6, 2012. | Andrew A. Nelles~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 11, 2013 6:12AM



We are so blasé about our guns. The latest case in point is the now-infamous state Sen. Donne E. Trotter.

Notch Trotter as the newest entry into “What Was He Thinking?” Encyclopedia of America. Last week he was arrested and jailed overnight after attempting to board a plane at O’Hare Airport. He was carrying a .25-caliber Beretta and a loaded ammunition clip.

He wasn’t thinking, Trotter later pleaded. He had worked the night shift at his part-time security job and forgot the gun was in his carry-on.

The ensuing media frenzy feasted on the question of how the incident will affect Trotter’s bid for the 2nd Congressional District. Forget about his political ambitions. What about the gun?

When I fly, I agonize over how many liquids and gels I can pack in my carry-on. The veteran Illinois Senate lawmaker, sworn to make and uphold the law, didn’t even think about a gun.

Trotter, the Senate’s majority caucus chair, moonlights at AllPoints Security, a politically connected Chicago firm.

“Multiple sources” in the Legislature told the Sun-Times, “It was not known that the South Side senator carried a gun or that he had any affiliation with” AllPoints. The job was not mentioned on his state ethics-disclosure forms.

According to prosecutors, the weapon was not registered in the City of Chicago, as required by law. Trotter does have a firearm owner’s identification card and was licensed to carry the weapon to and from his security job.

It may be a passé notion in Illinois, the most corrupt state in the nation, but our elected officials are supposed to set high standards. Have our standards sunk so low that a veteran legislator and congressional aspirant can treat a lethal weapon as casually as his hair brush?

For more than a decade, Chicago’s mayors and police chiefs have made Herculean efforts to strengthen our gun laws. Thankfully, Illinois remains the only state in the nation that does not allow people to carry concealed guns. The city’s neighborhoods are gripped by a level of gun-fueled violence that outstrips the carnage in Afghanistan.

Too many view guns as playthings, status symbols and ego boosters.

I am a certified wimp when it comes to guns. They terrify me. The fact that powerful people can be so cavalier about them terrifies me even more.

Few seemed to know that Trotter worked security or was licensed to carry. That’s the trouble with the idea of concealed carry. We don’t know who has a gun, who is “qualified” to have one, or who has the judgment to keep them out of harm’s way.

On Thursday Trotter was charged with a felony and released on a $25,000 bond. Predictably, his fellow elected officials have been noncommittal. He’s innocent until proven guilty, we’ll see how it goes, blah, blah, blah.

Some of them are probably carrying, too.

The National Rifle Association will probably sign him up for an honorary membership. They want us all packing, all the time.



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