Gun-Control Laws Better Than Executive Order: Durbin

While visiting Fox Valley, senator says gun control is only part of the solution to mass violence.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin said Friday that he would rather see Congress arrive at a “sensible solution” on curbing gun violence than see the president issue some kind of executive order attempting to remedy the problem.

Still, in light of the power wielded by the NRA and the gun industry, which many congressmen will not stand up to, Durbin said he would support President Barack Obama if he does issue executive orders in an attempt to rein in gun violence. “Whatever it takes to keep our streets and schools safe, I’ll support,” he said.

“But I hope that we could do it in the the normal congressional process,” he added. “I know that it’s tough. I know the politics on this issue very, very well, and I know some of my colleagues are not prepared to deliver.”

Earlier this week, Vice President Joe Biden said the president is considering executive orders to in an effort to halt shootings like the one at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Conn., CNN reported earlier this week. The bloody massacre of 20 children and seven adults renewed attention on the gun-control debate. Last month, Obama said a new task force headed by Biden would return by the end of January with some solid recommendations for combatting the violence.

While Biden is talking executive orders, Durbin, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he believes a legislative solution is more appropriate and said there are options being floated in Washington that, “from the details I’m hearing, I think I can support.”

Durbin stopped in the Fox Valley on Friday to review Elgin Community College’s efforts to reduce student indebtedness. Also on Friday, he visited Rockford, where he met with law enforcement leaders to discuss the strategies being used there to reduce violent crime and prevent mass shootings in the area. The senator is visiting several communities where he has been hosting “listening sessions” to learn what law enforcement and residents believe needs to be done on the issue.

The ideas he has been gathering from those sessions include:

  • Gun control is not enough: Congress must pass legislation to combat mass shootings like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, but gun-control alone is not the solution. There are a variety of issues that come into play with the kind of violence that occurred at Newtown and at other communities, including mental health issues.
  • Tougher state gun laws: There already are stringent federal laws in place related to gun violence, and Durbin said that states likewise need tougher laws. Criminals, he said, generally fear federal prosecution on weapons charges because the penalties are so much more severe than state laws.

In that regard, Durbin said, the people need to begin hearing more from law enforcement and sportsmen — “people who use guns legally and responsibly, they need to speak out,” he said.

Durbin said he would support an assault rifle ban, as well as a ban on the large clips for such weapons. Some clips designed for assault rifles can hold 100 rounds of ammunition. Most sportsmen would agree, he said, that no hunter needs to have an assault rifle with an extended clip.

In addition, he said that on Thursday, a gangbanger in Chicago tried to use an Uzi against a police officer, but the weapon jammed on the first shot. The clip, he said, held 31 more rounds. Those types of weapons and those types of clips do not need to be on the streets, except in the hands of law enforcement or the military.

  • Background checks: He said background checks are needed on every gun buyer, yet 40 percent of guns sold in the United States are sold at gun shows where there background checks are not conducted. That’s a significant loophole in a law intended to prevent the sale of firearms to felons. But someone with mental illness also could take advantage of these unregulated sales.
  • Crack down on straw purchases: Durbin said straw purchasers legally can buy large numbers of guns but then turn around and sell them individually with no oversight to ward against felons or the mentally ill making purchases. That, Durbin said, should be a serious felony carrying heavy penalties.
  • Educating ex-offenders: In terms recidivism among prison inmates, Durbin said educational opportunities are needed to help ensure they will have a better shot at finding a job when they leave prison, rather than returning to crime when they cannot find work. He said some are illiterate.
Darnell January 13, 2013 at 05:47 AM
This guy is a frikkin idiot and a pacifier! Pathetic!
Leslie Conklin January 13, 2013 at 01:18 PM
President Obama's executive order will Halt shootings? Halt? because the people who are doing the shootings will follow all the rules he puts up on the rest of us? there are more killings every year with hammers.
Erik Bloecks January 13, 2013 at 05:13 PM
I won't matter how many Laws or executive orders get passed, if some is motivated enough to get a gun THEY WILL! This is only a pathetic attempt by congress to appear like they are acutally doing something. We should be more concerned about dealing with mental health issues first. We should start with the begining of the problem.
SmartMan5 January 13, 2013 at 05:53 PM
Usually I am on the polar opposite from Senator Durbin on issues however what he is saying in this article makes sense to me. He is not suggesting outlawing guns. That would be stupid because then only the outlaws would have guns. I am all for people being allowed to own a guns but I do not see the need to own an Uzi. Assault weapons are designed for mass destruction and we do not need that in our society.
kem63 January 14, 2013 at 03:49 AM
You are right, citizens don't need military type assault rifles. But it should not be the governments job to ban them. It should be the people of each state. Putting government in charge of banning any gun just once, gives any president/congress in the future the power(bill) to ban other guns without the peoples consent. We really don't need that.
Tom Koz January 14, 2013 at 08:08 AM
little dick durbin, as talk radio host Mark Levin calls him, is suggesting that if Congress doesn't make / pass a law the President should??? The President has NO authority in the Constitution to do so. The Federal Government has NO authority in the Constitution to enact gun laws either!! The Federal Government seems to be continuing to overstep its bounds. The States MUST stop this from happening and regain control. $16+ TRILLION in debt that your kids/grandkids/great grandkids will have to pay because of Federal Government acting outside of the Constitution!!! People WAKE UP! This has NOTHING to do with guns or safety. The Federal Government is just trying to gain more control and continually chip away at your rights. Look what has happened over the last number of years. American CITIZENS can be detained indefinetely without charges/trial!! I may very well be on their list simply because of this post! How many new Federal "regulations" have been implemented in the last month?? week?? you will be SHOCKED! 8 of the 10 Richest counites in the nation - just outside Washington DC!!!
Joseph R. Martan January 14, 2013 at 05:08 PM
Tom: Time to take your meds. There are no black helicopters out there.
Bruno Fontana January 15, 2013 at 05:51 PM
There are people out there who think Sandy Hook was a conspiracy..that it was staged by the govt. This is the same government that operationally is incredibly inept on so many levels yet it can plan this, 9/11, and the moon landing. Tom no one is trying to take your guns. If we get to the point where the government is busting down our doors, we have a lot of bigger problems than guns. Simply put-there is a large contingent of people who would like to increase their odds of living a normal life by limiting magazine count and banning assault rifles. I like my chances in an office shooting against someone who has to re-load every couple of minutes. Cant limiting that option of excessive bullets and firepower be put on the table without a discussion of black-ops being called in?
Tom Koz January 15, 2013 at 06:27 PM
In a word NO. What part of "...shall not be infringed." do you and the politicians not understand?? Many liberal/progressives HAVE called for confiscation of all firearms. Are the criminals going to abide by the NY max. 7 round magazine when 2-3 or more attack a law abiding citizen?? My legal 19 round handgun has killed less people than Ted Kennedy's car!! If my handgun increases the possibilities for murder THEN a vagina increases the possibilities for prostitution!!
Bruno Fontana January 15, 2013 at 09:22 PM
I admire your passion. It just seems to me like a lot of the you guys (patriots, gun owners, etc) don's seem very happy. It's a lot of anger and "someone's coming to get me or my gun or my land" or "I need to prepare for doomsday". I'm not trying to rip on your or be mean, I'm serious, you gotta live dude, smell the roses and all that. All that worry doesnt seem like there's much room to enjoy life. I'm steppin out of this one so best of luck.
Tom Koz January 16, 2013 at 05:13 AM
Anthony, I served and took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution ... against foreign and domestic. I also have children and hopefully some day grandchildren. I would just like to see them grow up in a Freedom loving U.S. like yesteryear rather than say a country like Cuba. Anger, yea a little. Worry, yea a lot. All it takes for evil to advance is for the good to remain silent! $16 plus Trillion in debt on your kids and grandkids! I cannot lookup kids in the eye as a man if I just stand by silently while this Country crumbles.


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