Where 8th Congressional District GOP hopefuls stand on violent crime, gun control

Whether the federal government should play a bigger role in curbing violent crime across the nation — and whether stronger gun control laws ought to be a part of that — was recently discussed by candidates in the Republican primary for the 8th Congressional District seat currently held by Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi of Schaumburg.

Joining an endorsement interview with a representative of the Daily Herald's editorial board were GOP hopefuls Chris Dargis of Palatine, Peter Kopsaftis of South Barrington and Phillip Owen Wood of Carol Stream.

Candidates Karen Kolodziej of Itasca and Chad Koppie of Gilberts were invited but did not attend.

The winner of the June 28 GOP primary will later face the winner of the Democratic primary between Krishnamoorthi and challenger Junaid Ahmed of South Barrington.

Dargis said he believes the federal government can be of more help to local and state authorities in curbing crime. He suggests this could take the form of recognizing when federal laws are also being broken, holding lax prosecutors accountable and using U.S. attorneys more in prosecutions.

“I think being passive in the face of this crime wave that is sweeping the nation is the wrong thing to do, so when I'm in Washington I will definitely be supporting efforts to fund our law enforcement to get them better training and better resources to deal with the crime out there,” he said.

Increasing gun laws would impede law-abiding gun owners who are trying to protect themselves, Dargis argues.

“The police do their jobs, they arrest people,” he said. “We have Democratic, left-wing prosecutors who put these criminals right back on the street, and then we're like, ‘Oh my gosh, we have a gun problem.'”

Wood said that one of the first things federal lawmakers can do is to strengthen the border with Mexico.

“We need to get that border shut down because there's a lot of crime coming in through there,” he said. “The second thing, I do believe, is we need to support our police.”

Wood said he's a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and that the right to bear arms should not be infringed. He blames increases in crime on societal attitudes.

“We've devalued life,” Wood said. “To me, it goes back to the attitude we have to the pre-born baby. We've devalued life, and it goes right on down the line. ... Certainly as a pro-life person, I'm saying we not only need to protect the child in the womb, but we really need to support these families as they're raising the children.”

Kopsaftis also believes that a loss of values is more to blame for violent crime than insufficient gun control.

“In every city in the last 10 to 15 to 20 years, it's been chaos because the opposite party has deteriorated and has allowed these things to happen,” Kopsaftis said. “From the indoctrination of schools, indoctrination of everything else around us, it has got to this point. Guns are not the problem. It's the people. Criminals are not being prosecuted the way they should.”

“We have to reach out to each and every community to find out what are the root causes. Yes, there's a lot of unemployment in many areas, but there has to be support at the local level.”

Though the 8th District's borders are shifting somewhat for the 2022 elections, it will remain roughly centered in Schaumburg and include areas of northwest Cook, northeast DuPage and northeast Kane counties.

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