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Some support from local law enforcement, lawmakers

Updated: February 21, 2013 6:45AM

Some Fox Valley lawmakers and law enforcement officials are expressing support for at least some parts of the proposals to reduce gun violence that President Barack Obama announced last week.

The proposed gun control package includes universal background checks for those buying guns, a ban on “military-style assault weapons,” and a 10-round limit on ammunition magazines. It also includes steps aimed at making schools safer and increasing access to mental health services.

Kendall County Sheriff Richard Randall said that since the proposals were announced, he has been fielding calls, emails and even letters about what he would do as far as enforcing new gun laws, if passed.

“I tell them, we don’t enforce federal law,” Randall said. “I have sworn an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution and the state Constitution. When it comes to a state law, we look at it and act accordingly.”

The sheriff said he wholeheartedly agrees with the proposal to close loopholes on background checks. Those checks are good for “keeping guns out of dangerous hands,” he said.

He also expressed support for more security at schools, for increased access to mental health services — and for vigorously enforcing the laws already on the books, he said.

And while Aurora Police Chief Gregory Thomas declined to comment directly on the proposals because he had not yet looked at them in detail, he did affirm, “We need to do what we can to keep guns out of the hands of the immature, and the mentally ill.”

“We need to follow up and follow through” — follow through, Thomas said, because of what he had learned during a meeting last week with state police and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.

From that meeting, he said, “It sounded like we have not done what we need to do to make sure we identify the people who should not have guns,” like when a Firearms Owner Identification card is ordered revoked by a judge. The state does not follow up and take the card, he said.

Durbin had spoken briefly about the gun control legislation coming to Congress during an unrelated visit to Elgin Community College the week before.

The senator said then that he would support legislation to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, as well as universal background checks. U.S. Rep Tammy Duckworth, D-Hoffman Estates, also has expressed her support for bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Meantime, U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Wheaton, noted his past support for improvements to and increased funding for the National Instant Background Check System. And U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Naperville, credited a partnership between local and federal law enforcement with the fact there were no murders last year in Aurora.

The Elgin and Naperville police departments and DuPage and Kane sheriff’s offices declined to comment on the proposals.

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