(CBS) — Local gun control advocates are applauding President Barack Obama’s executive orders to expand background checks for firearm sales at gun shows and other measures, but opponents say it won’t stop criminals from getting guns.
Sandra Wortham’s brother Thomas Wortham III was a Chicago Police Officer shot to death in front of his parents’ home in 2010.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Steamy Heat Through Midweek
“By now, everyone knows our story,” she said. The story of our family, you can Google it. My brother was murdered. He was a Chicago Police Officer.”
Wortham says she’s grateful for President Obama’s bold steps.
“We know where the guns are in this community, in my neighborhood, we know where they come from,” she said. “I am grateful for that the President has done. We should follow his lead and be courageous in our approach to fighting gun violence.”
Wortham says this issue is not about gun ownership, it’s about guns in the wrong hands.
“I am not an anti-gun person, I was raised in a house with guns,” she said. “It’s not about that. It’s about having guns in the right hands so we don’t have to continue to have these press conferences and we don’t have to keep going to funerals.”
Wortham joined Senator Dick Durbin at a news conference held at Teamwork Englewood, 815 W. 63rd Street.
Durbin says 40 percent of the crime guns in the deadliest sections of Chicago come from gun shows in Northwest Indiana where there are no universal background checks.
“These gangsters fill up their trunks and drive across the state line into the city of Chicago and you know what happens next,” he said. “Well, the party’s over.”
The executive order would override state gun laws and close gun sales loopholes.
“2,939 people were shot in the city of Chicago last year. 468 were shot and killed. In Illinois alone in 2015, we will over a thousand individuals killed by guns,” said Colleen Daly, executive director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence. “These numbers are heartbreaking and they are tragic. So how does Congress respond to these tragedies? By failing to pass meaningful legislation that will save lives. It is shameful that this hasn’t been done. We commend President Obama for his bold action with the executive orders. They are common sense. Make no mistake, this won’t solve the gun violence problem, but it’s a step in the right direction.”
The head of a guns right group in Illinois says President Obama’s executive actions won’t prevent criminals or the mentally from getting guns.
Illinois Carry spokeswoman Valinda Rowe says expanding background checks won’t prevent tragedies like Sandy Hook, San Bernardino or the others.READ MORE: 31 Percent Of Illinois Nursing Homes Are Not Providing CDC With COVID-19 Vaccine Information, Organization Says
“A lot of these things are already on the books,” Rowe says. “I don’t see anything that is really going to prevent criminals and the mentally ill from still illegally obtaining a firearm.”
As for smart gun technology that president touted, Rowe says there are better ways to protect kids from getting a hold of guns like teaching gun safety in schools.
She suggests the president should instead focus on tougher enforcement of existing gun laws and strengthening states’ reporting of the mentally ill – but without violating people’s due process rights.
Rowe says the president’s speech – in a room full of gun violence victims – was an attempt to use emotion to sway the public that his actions will prevent bad guys from getting weapons.
Folks in in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood know the reality of gun violence too well. CBS 2’s Mike Parker spoke with some residents on the president’s actions.
“We have to do something about the guns,” said Englewood resident Robert Washington. “And Barack Obama, you could see the tears come in his eyes. That man cares. That man cares about this city.”
“It looks like we’ve become heartless about these guns and stuff,” said Bessie Brown. “We don’t care. Somebody needs to step in.”
Maurice Miles has a somewhat different take about what he saw from President Obama.
“Two guys get off a CTA bus and start shooting at a moving vehicle on Western Avenue, in broad mid-day traffic,” Miles said. “How do you legislate against that? What do you have to solve that problem?”
John Frycek is a carry and conceal instructor in Illinois. He supports some new measures.
“Safety is always paramount, so there’s going to be more stringent background checks,” he said. “I’m all for that.”
And he says the current gun control debate is only fueling sales.MORE NEWS: Family Of National Guardsman Chrys Carvajal Posts Flyers Around Belmont-Cragin, Offers Reward After He Was Shot And Killed
“There’s definitely been a four to seven percent increase in gun sales and in gun training,” Frycek said.