Illinois bill assumes all Latinos and blacks are gang members


LatinaLista — When it comes to guns, I’m not a fan. Yeah, I’ve heard all the “Constitutional arguments” for them and even saw that the Texas State Board of Education felt the need to emphasize the right to carry firearms in citizenship lessons in their tentative new curriculum standards for the state’s school textbooks, but still not a fan.


It’s one thing to live in Alaska where the probability of coming face-to-face with a wild animal is high or even going hunting where there is a necessity to carry a gun but when I saw a young father settling his kids down to enjoy their Happy Meals at a McDonalds in Oklahoma with his pistol holstered around his jeans, I just prayed that this guy didn’t have a short fuse when it came to kids leaving half-eaten burgers to go play in the on-site playground.

Guns in anyone’s hands is a risk to society, especially when they’re moving about society.

That’s why the premise behind the Illinois House Bill 6123 is admirable — prohibiting any person or entity from selling a firearm to a so-called “street gang member.”

The problem is too many people have preconceived images of what a street gang member looks like — black and Latino!

With that preconceived notion that every young, baggy pants, corn-rolled, tatted up black or brown-skinned boys must belong to a gang, HB 6123 would legally justify racial profiling in its most blatant form yet.

While its true that a sign of some gangs is to wear their clothes in this manner or have tattoos, the opposite is also — not every young Latino who adopts these ways are in gangs.

This law takes the liberty of slapping a detrimental label on young black and Latino boys (and girls) without the right for them to defend themselves.

Sponsored by Rep. Harry Osterman (D-14), this prohibition applies even if the individual has passed a Brady Law FBI background check. Making a prohibited sale would result in Class 1 felony charges and possible jail time for the seller.

There’s no question that gang violence is getting deadlier and less discriminate but instead of passing a law that blankets guilt on a person just because of the way they look, there have to be stronger laws against guns for everyone.

There has to be more community vigilance in neighborhoods where gun shots are heard; laws with harsh punishments and no parole for a minimum of a number of years must be implemented; gun education must be taught in schools to deter children from thinking that carrying a gun, and/or, using it is cool.

In fact, a lot more energy needs to be applied to prevention of guns getting out on the streets and that will take work.

It doesn’t take any work at all to make assumptions.