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Gun tracing is key in war on violence

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Sun-Times Library

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Updated: August 30, 2013 6:18AM

The City of Chicago is in a war against illegal guns, and we’re losing. Cops in Chicago are recovering illegal guns at nine times the rate of cops in New York City, but they just keep coming. We need to stop the flood of illegal guns at its source: gun traffickers.

Gun tracing is one of the most effective tools law enforcement has to go after gun traffickers. With only the manufacturer, the model and the serial number of a gun, they can trace a weapon back to its first sale and find out how it ended up in the hands of a criminal. We already have a federal system in place to help law enforcement agencies trace guns, and the police in Chicago use it every day.

Unfortunately, less than a third of our nation’s police departments use the federal gun tracing system. To stop the violence, we must encourage greater participation. Sen. Durbin and Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart are right: tying federal COPS grant funds to participation provides the right incentive. We should also make it easier for law enforcement to trace weapons by passing the Trafficking Reduction and Criminal Enforcement (TRACE) Act, which I introduced this year. The TRACE Act would require a second, hidden serial number on all newly manufactured guns and allow law enforcement to use trace data in civil proceedings to revoke the license of a gun dealer caught breaking the law.

We can stop this senseless violence, but we cannot do it alone. Promoting gun tracing around the country is an important first step.

Congressman Mike Quigley, Illinois’ 5th Congressional District

Thanks for not invading

In Libya, Egypt, and now Syria, President Obama is cautiously wending his way through a minefield of no-win situations and thus far has refused to repeat the disastrous American interventions as happened in Vietnam and Iraq. Hooray for General Dempsey for laying out the truth about the no-win costly options in Syria. It’s about time some of our leaders learned from history.

Marion J. Reis, Wheaton

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Violence must be addressed

Chicago’s unacceptable violence (gang-banger and otherwise) must be stopped in its tracks to prevent our noble city’s collapse into a Detroit. To combat Chicago’s violent crime there must be a concerned, committed community response (probably cadres of neighborhood men and women) to the beleaguered city’s excessive, pathetic crime experience.

The response must be a show of determined, unafraid, unwavering force that is excessive to that of the wrongdoers. There can be no negotiating with terrorists of any kind. There will not be time to get effective fathers back into the family. The requirement for an intact family to have two effective on-duty parents in the home will have to wait. There is no time to waste.

Leon J. Hoffman, Lake View

Public punishment should be considered

I think Chicago has arrived at a point where public pillorying should be implemented to put a face on crime. During the day, offenders should be placed in public so that we can know the people who are preying on us. Granted, it may be viewed as barbaric, but so are many of their crimes.

With a hundred or so racks to hold them, weather permitting, such a deterrent may work to deter future crimes once these criminals realize the public is aware of them. Of course, posted with them will be Police Academy cadets to oversee their safety. Crimes can no longer be anonymous. They are certainly not anonymous to the victims.

Vincent Kamin, Streeterville

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