Village of Arlington Heights Board Sends Letter on Gun Control to Governor Rauner — Encourages Legislation

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In response to the mass shooting at Marjory Douglas Stoneman High School in Parkland, Florida, the Arlington Heights Village Board sent a letter on February 27, 2018 to Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner and the State Legislature calling on them to enact additional reasonable, responsible and enforceable common-sense gun control legislation to help reduce the incidence of mass shootings within our communities.

The Village Board’s letter specifically supports stronger regulation of all gun dealers to prevent the sale of firearms to individuals who cannot lawfully purchase them, and to reduce the theft of firearms from poorly secured shops. The Board’s letter also includes support of tougher background checks, the banning of “bump stocks” and legislation that increases the accountability of gun owners as well.

Below is a copy of the Village Board’s letter regarding gun control issues that was sent to Governor Bruce Rauner and the Illinois General Assembly on Tuesday, February 27, 2018.

Dear Governor Rauner and Members of the Illinois General Assembly:

In 2017, the Village of Arlington Heights was proud to be named the second safest community in the State of Illinois by the National Council for Home Safety and Security, a national trade association of licensed alarm installers, contractors, and other groups. However, the same group also rated Parkland, Florida the safest community in that state. The recent shootings in Parkland underscore the fact that that even low crime rate communities like Arlington Heights and Parkland are not immune to tragedy.

Protecting the people of our community from harm is central to the Village of Arlington Heights’ mission. Despite the best efforts of cities, villages, and law enforcement around the country to prevent school shootings and be prepared for them, they continue to occur at an alarming rate. As a result, it is clear that additional action must be taken at the local, state, and national level to stem this violence. The Village of Arlington Heights is willing to do its part. In particular, our community has invested much time and money in making our schools more secure and our public safety employees more prepared for such a threat. We are also training our staff to be better equipped to deescalate situations involving violent offenders who may suffer from mental illness. However, action must now be taken on the state and national levels as well.

To that end, the Mayor and Village Board of Arlington Heights call on the leadership of the State of Illinois to enact additional reasonable, responsible, and enforceable common-sense gun control legislation to help reduce the incidence of mass shootings within our communities. In particular, we support stronger regulation of all gun dealers to prevent the sale of firearms to those individuals who cannot lawfully purchase them, and to reduce theft of firearms from poorly secured shops. We also support tougher background checks, the banning of “bump stocks”, and legislation that increases the accountability of gun owners as well.

The Village Board of Arlington Heights does not have a general history of weighing in on federal or state matters that do not relate directly to our village government’s own mandates or duties. However, as this issue relates to our mission to provide for the safety of our community, we believe it appropriate to take a stand on this matter.

Accordingly, on behalf of the Village Board of Arlington Heights, I strongly urge you to work toward the passage of legislation that increases the accountability of all Illinois gun dealers and owners, and prevents the illegal purchase of firearms in our state.

Best Regards,
Thomas W. Hayes,
Mayor

The issue is a priority issue among residents and this is recognized by the village board. Reaction to the announcement was mixed on the official Facebook page for the Village of Arlington Heights. The Arlington Heights Village Board received a series of “Thanks” and one person lauded the board, saying “ASSAULT Rifles have no place outside of the military.” Most of the comments favored the letter from the village.

Mayor Addressing Residents

“The Village Board and I have received much communication and feedback from residents over the past two weeks after the tragic events in Parkland, FL and It is clear that this is an issue that is important to our community. This letter reflects our views as a Village Board and we believe the time is right to communicate them to State leadership.”

— Mayor Tom Hayes

Skeptics or opponents of the letter simply indicated they disagreed, or commented that existing laws need to be enforced and that punishments for malicious use of guns need to improved or extended.

Another comment along the line of effectively applying existing gun laws asked, “What was the action taken on the gun found on the grounds of Ivy Hill Elementary?” The comment refers to an incident that occurred in late October 2017 when a loaded handgun was found on public school property at Ivy Hill Elementary School in Arlington Heights and the gun owner who carried the gun on school property and misplaced the gun on school property was not charged.

Another commenter inquired, “What steps are being taken to protect schools and children other than supporting legislation? Metal detectors, single point of entrance, stationed security guards? No? We did it right after 9/11…”

The Village of Arlington Heights also referred to school safety efforts, stating that safety in the community is a top priority for the Village of Arlington Heights. The school safety outline highlights the safety programs and efforts of the Arlington Heights Police Department, the Arlington Heights Fire Department and local School Districts, cooperating since 2001.

Village of Arlington Heights Highlights of Police Department’s School Safety Programs




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