HIGHLAND PARK, Ill makes headlines by upholding ban on Assault Weapons

Map of North Shore, home to the suburb of Chicago known as Highland Park

Map of North Shore, home to the suburb of Chicago known as Highland Park

assault weapon 2 While much negativity and darkness has surrounded the gun buying and carrying debate, every once in a while, a little glimpse of goodness and light comes through.

The most recent positive development in this realm, I am proud to say, comes from the city of my upbringing, that of Highland Park, Ill (HP to those familiar.) Note: Highland Park is home to the annual Ravinia Music Festival.

While often  described as a toney North Shore suburb and, thus, associated with other things, in this instance, HP stood firm in its stance that there is no reason for people to own or use assault weapons and, thus, fought a good fight to ensure that the ban the city worked hard to place on such arsenals of destruction would remain in place.  This passed Monday, December 7, the Supreme Court refused to hear a Second Amendment challenge to HP's ordinance banning semiautomatic assault weapons and large-capacity magazines.

Decided in a 5-4 vote, the two dissenting judges: Justice Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia, cited the high court of not doing its part to enforce the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. According to Justice Thomas in his dissent, nearly five million Americans own these type of high-powered rifles or as he referred to them as, ''modern sporting rifles" and use them lawfully for self-defense and target shooting.

The case, Friedman v City of Highland Park, brought forth by HP resident, Dr. Arie Friedman, was a result of the displeasure felt by some who felt the ban violated their constitutional rights.  A practicing pediatrician, Friedman has gone on record as formerly owning assault and semi-automatic weapons and wanting to own them again.

While HP is considered a low crime area, the fact remains that assault and semi-automatic weapons pose a risk and if persons in one community/city/state are allowed to own them then what stops others from getting ahold of them and using them for unlawful purposes. This, at least, is my perspective. While I realize that there are those among us who ardently support the Second Amendment and, as such, believe such a ban infringes on their centuries-old right to keep and bear arms. I see that  allowance of such a right comes at a very steep price.

An article on State in 2012, estimated (caution: theirs was an unscientific approximation) there to be around 3.5 million weapons in the United States that could be classified as assault/semi-automatic rifle induced (ASR). Note: It is difficult to find exact figures as many such artillery pieces are privately owned and purchased through untraceable transactions. The arguments wildly flail from ginormous numbers of young-people deaths in the millions due to ASR's to more toned down figures in the thousands. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) over an 11-year period, from 2001 to 2011, of the 126,470 firearm assault injuries to persons under the age of 20 that resulted in death, approximately 11,500 a year were caused by ASR usage.

Yeah, you probably guessed it, NRA-supporters then proclaim that 11, 500 over an 11-year period is not much. Yet, 11, 500 deaths to youth is still 11, 500 too many when, in fact, those deaths could possible be prevented if a ban was placed on ASR's.

Yes, a ban does unarguably crimp NRA-folks style, limiting their skeet shooting outings and putting a damper on their fabulous collections. But what it does it do is offer a modicum of protection that is sorely needed. If nothing else a ban on ASR's is a place to start. "Let's start at the very beginning," a song from a classical musical says, "It's a very good place to start."

And an enforcing a ban that was already in place seems to me like a good place to begin. Hopefully, some type of precedent my have been set in good ol' HP. At least, the city in which I experienced much teen angst, has used its tiger mother protectedness for the right purposes and pursuits.  Now, I can say with pride, I graduated from Highland Park High School. Though, I still refuse to disclose the year.

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