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posted: 7/29/2013 5:00 AM

Focus on root causes of gun violence first

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To the Wheeling village board:

I wanted to take a moment and say thank you. In fact, I am quite proud to be represented by you all at the moment. You all had the wisdom and courage to reject an "assault weapons" ban. You all saw that such legislation would do nothing for gun violence in our community (in fact, is it really an issue in Wheeling?). You all saw that gun violence is an issue of moral character, poverty (relative and absolute), social cohesion, parenting, education, mental health and more.

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"Assault weapons" bans are ineffective legislation which affect only law-abiding citizens and which ultimately amount to political posturing. As a devout Christian with an education in both public policy and theology, I hope other communities will focus on those issues mentioned above. Those issues are the heart of the problem of gun violence and other social ills.

Unfortunately, those issues are not so popular since they are so time- and cost-intensive to address and any positive effects are seen years later. Simply put, they are not politically expedient, so elected officials and voters alike tend to ignore them. You all understand, however, that the real issues at hand are ones of moral character, poverty (relative and absolute), social cohesion, parenting, education, mental health and more. By addressing those root causes of gun violence, we edify all citizens and reap benefits far beyond only the reduction of gun violence.

As a distinguished rifleman, I hope to help represent Illinois at the National Rifle Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio, later this month and I can now do that without being labeled a "criminal" in my own town.

Thank you all for your political courage, thank you all for listening to your citizens, and thank you all for avoiding bad public policy!

Anthony Duytschaever

Wheeling

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