In November Cook County, IL will place two non-binding referendums on the ballot. One deals with increasing mental health funding, which I will vote for.
The second is a gun control referendum which unnecessarily combines two separate gun control issues, background checks and an assault weapons ban, making the background check measures I support much less likely to pass.
It is likely to fail, as the poll on the Chicago SunTimes article asking if an assault weapons ban is supported is currently failing 97% to 3%.
Why aren't these separate ballot initiatives, since they are very different issues?
The gun control referendum asks voters if Illinois should
require universal background checks for firearm transfers and prohibit the sale and transfer of assault weapons, assault weapon attachments and high capacity ammunition magazines?I fully support universal background checks, for all types of firearms. Those who have been legally banned from owning guns must be prevented from obtaining them. If the background check question were placed on the ballot on its own, I would vote for it, no questions asked. I also would expect it to pass, sending a clear message to our elected leaders to enact necessary background checks.
But on this initiative, background checks are combined with a total ban on assault weapons. This ban would apply only to civilians and I am on record as opposing any gun ban that does not also apply to police. Equality under the law comes first, and as long as assault weapons are legal for the over-militarized police to carry, I will not vote for a civilian only ban.
Also, the vast majority of shootings in Cook County are gang shootings, and gang members typically don't carry hard to conceal rifles. They use handguns, and an assault weapons ban will do nothing to reduce the dozens of shootings occurring in Chicago each weekend.
Why are necessary background checks I can support combined with an outright gun ban I cannot? How is a combined initiative of this type supposed to judge the true will of the voters? If Cook County wants to conduct a legitimate referendum on gun control measures, each separate issue should be given a separate vote.