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Article published February 21, 2013
Enforce existing laws
Paul Cashdollar Clay Township
Much ongoing debate about stricter gun laws has been going on all across our country since the Newtown school shooting in Connecticut. One area where the gun laws are the strictest in the country is Chicago. Chicago was home to Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old honor student. Pendleton, who performed as a drum majorette at President Barack Obama’s inauguration last month, was shot to death by two reputed gang members who mistook the group of teens she was with for rivals. Michael Ward, 18, and Kenneth Williams, 20, are charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder and aggravated battery with a firearm in the attack that also left two other teens wounded. Ward told police the shooting was in retaliation for Williams getting wounded last July on Chicago’s South Side. Williams refused to sign a complaint against those suspected in the attack. Williams and Ward targeted Hadiya and other teens Jan. 29 because they believed, mistakenly, that they were members of the gang responsible for the July shooting. Ward pleaded guilty early last year in a 2011 case that involved aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. He was given two years’ probation, according to court records. After his arrest last summer on a charge of criminal trespass to a vehicle, he was held without bond for a few weeks, but was released after a Sept. 9 hearing. Williams was arrested on a misdemeanor retail theft charge in October 2011, but the charge was dismissed. Stricter gun laws will not affect those who pay no attention to the law, as can be seen in the Pendleton case. Mandatory jail time for those who use weapons illegally is what we need. There are enough laws on the books. The ones we have should be enforced. In 2012, Chicago had 535 homicides and 2,698 shootings. Through Feb. 4 of this year, there have been 50 homicides and 213 shootings.