Communities across Illinois are in crisis. This past weekend at least 106 people were shot in Chicago, 13 of them fatally. The victims included a three-year-old child and a 13-year-old girl, Amaria Jones, who was shot as she danced a Tik Tok dance for her mother in her home. This tragedy marks the most people shot in one weekend since at least 2012, but still not the deadliest this year after more than 20 were killed over the last weekend in May.
For months we’ve watched in horror as TWO pandemics have ravaged our state and, particularly, Black and Brown communities: COVID-19 and gun violence. Like COVID-19, the spike in gun violence in many communities is fueled by unaddressed structural inequalities such as poverty, joblessness, and discriminatory policies and practices.The same level of urgency and resources lawmakers have deployed to fight the COVID-19 outbreak must be applied to our state’s gun violence crisis.
While there is no one law that is going to address all the deep-seeded issues overnight, we must start somewhere and there are proven solutions to reducing community violence, such as SB1966, the BIO (Block Illegal Ownership) Bill. This life-saving legislation contains proven strategies to reduce the flow of illegal guns to our communities. SB1966, the BIO Bill would:
- Reduce the FOID Card duration from 10 years to 5 years.
- Require a point-of-sale background check for all gun sales, including those by an unlicensed seller.
- Require applicants for FOID Cards to submit fingerprints as part of their application.
- Create a mental health reporting fund that will divert surplus funds from the concealed carry program to communities suffering from the highest rates of gun violence.
The Illinois House has passed SB1966, and now it’s time for the Illinois Senate to follow suit. This week, we are urging Gun Violence Prevention Champion Governor JB Pritzker to help end the gun violence crisis in our state by addressing the glaring gaps in our current law that allow illegal guns to flood our communities and take more and more lives every day. Please join us in asking Governor Pritzker to save lives in Illinois by publicly calling on the State Senate to pass SB1966, the BIO BIll, so he can sign this piece of life-saving legislation into law.