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Chicago Sun-Times Opinion This Week
Good morning,
Chicago just had its worst weekend of shootings this year — 12 people were killed by gunfire, another 42 were injured. And everyone is worried about the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.
Early this week, we wrote an editorial about the Block Illegal Ownership bill which has measures that can help stop criminals from getting easy access to guns. A critical component of the bill requires mandatory fingerprints for people getting Firearm Owners Identification cards. In a Letter to the Editor, Ari Weiner, who lives downtown, says criminals don’t bother with Illinois FOID cards when they get a gun. The bill may very well be a solution in search of a problem.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot unveiled her plan on Monday to increase civilian oversight of the Chicago police. This comes at a time when two local police reform groups are pushing for an elected board of civilians. In our lead editorial this week, the Editorial Board writes that any way you cut it, real police reform is coming to Chicago.
Here’s another must-read in Commentary before or during your long weekend: Columnist Gene Lyons writes about how the Republican Party is just getting started in its plot against American democracy.
— Ismael Pérez, editorial board member

Mayor Lori Lightfoot. Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
Mayor Lori Lightfoot. Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
It’s appropriate that Mayor Lori Lightfoot has unveiled her plan to increase civilian oversight of the Chicago police in the same week that our nation marks the one-year anniversary of the killing of George Floyd.
The outrage that followed Floyd’s death, under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer, has spurred police reform efforts across the country, including Lightfoot’s police oversight plan. Her long-awaited proposal includes many of the changes demanded by police reform advocates.
Much of the public discussion about the mayor’s plan, released on Monday, is sure to focus on where the mayor and reform activists fundamentally disagree. The mayor insists that she and future mayors must retain their authority to hire and fire the police superintendent and make major policy decisions. But two local police reform groups, who have joined together to support an alternative plan now pending in the City Council, say an elected board of civilians, not the mayor, should make those calls.
We stand firmly with the mayor on this. The people of Chicago will always demand action from the mayor, not some semi-anonymous elected board, when crime rates soar or the police screw up. Strip any mayor of that most basic power — the authority to hire and fire the superintendent — and watch accountability fly out the window.
But what’s more significant, to our thinking, is the degree to which the mayor’s plan incorporates other elements of proposals by reform advocates. The police department still would be placed under stronger, though not ultimate, civilian oversight.
The Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board is the opinion voice of the hardest-working newspaper in America. It is headed by editorial page editor Tom McNamee and includes Thomas FrisbieLorraine ForteLee BeyIsmael Pérez and Mary Mitchell as members.
What others have to say
Gene Lyons on the Republican Party:
Nobody wants to believe what they are seeing: the conversion of one of America’s two major political parties into a cult of personality actively conspiring to overturn democratic rule in the United States. And doing so in broad daylight.
Republican Party is just getting started in its plot against American democracy
More editorials we published this week
415 million more reasons Springfield should say no to an elected Chicago school board
Laid-off workers should be first in line for jobs as hotels bounce back from pandemic
In your words
“Is there any evidence that a deficiency in the state’s current firearm owner’s background check process is to blame for the senseless violence in Chicago?”
— Ari Weiner, Downtown
Every day we publish submissions from Chicago Sun-Times readers weighing in on issues facing the city and its residents. Send letters to letters@suntimes.com or reply to this email to share your perspective.
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Chicago Sun-Times Opinion This Week

A weekly overview of opinions, analysis and commentary on issues affecting Chicago, Illinois and our nation by outside contributors, Sun-Times readers and the CST Editorial Board.

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