On Thursday, April 12, Representative John Shimkus sent a staffer to hold office hours at Mattoon Public Library. Although the event was not well publicized, thirteen Charleston and Mattoon residents attended as a group to express our concerns to the congressman.

One of our group is the mother of a Mattoon High School student. After the shooting at MHS last year, Mr. Shimkus did not visit Mattoon. He did not make a statement. He did not even send thoughts and prayers. We have nothing but silence on a shooting in our district, other than the statement that Mr. Shimkus is a Second Amendment supporter.

Several people in the group that met with Mr. Shimkus’s staff person are gun owners. We are not opposed to firearms. We do want common sense reform to current gun laws. We asked for the following reforms:

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  • Introduction of legislation similar to the Federal Assault Weapons Ban that expired in 2004.
  • Magazine size restrictions.
  • Universal background checks.
  • Legislative removal of all restrictions preventing the Centers for Disease Control from studying gun violence and a public health issue and legislation guaranteeing funding for the CDC to pursue this research.
  • A national system similar to the Firearm Owners Identification Card system used in Illinois
  • Legislation to ban bump stocks.

I am making this letter public because everyone in our group had called and written Mr. Shimkus’s office several times and received no response. When we asked if our comments from the meeting would be sent to the Congressman, his staff person could not guarantee that they would. In the face of silence from our elected representative, I will make my voice heard to my neighbors. Mr. Shimkus is not listening, but perhaps you are.

Stacey Knight-Davis, Charleston

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