Gun Violence Prevention Action Committee Launches Six-Figure Campaign to ‘Halt The Assault’

Thursday, October 13, 2022


Gun Violence Prevention Action Committee Launches Six-Figure Campaign to ‘Halt The Assault’

National Gun Violence Prevention Groups Join GVPAC to Activate Supporters of Statewide Ban on Assault Weapons and Large Capacity Magazines


Following months of public outcry demanding policy change, today the Gun Violence Prevention Action Committee launched a new campaign to bolster and build legislative support around a ban on assault weapons and large capacity magazines dubbed ‘Halt The Assault.’ A statewide effort supported by leading national gun violence prevention organizations, Halt The Assault will utilize tools to organize and activate supporters to reach their state lawmakers and ultimately advance the life-saving measure in the coming months. 

 “Assault weapons only exist to make shootings more deadly, and it’s time we banned them in Illinois,” said Kathleen Sances, President and CEO of the Gun Violence Prevention Action Committee (GVPAC). “Halt The Assault is the result of Illinoisans demanding immediate action to ban assault weapons, which is the number one priority of the gun violence prevention movement. This coordinated statewide effort will channel the momentum behind this commonsense measure into meaningful policy change. I want to thank the state leaders and lawmakers who have already shared their support and look forward to bringing more into the fold as we look to save lives.”

 While the measure was not deemed politically viable earlier this year, momentum behind an assault weapon ban among the public has grown, and Illinois residents are demanding action from their lawmakers particularly after the Highland Park mass shooting. From January to September 2022, Illinois has seen 45 mass shootings, 35 of which were in Chicago. Mass shootings are only a fraction of the fatal shootings that take place across the state, illustrating the tragic toll of gun violence that hits urban communities particularly hard across Illinois.

 “Those of us at Giffords believe in one central tenet: gun laws save lives,” said Sean Holihan, state legislative director at Giffords. “When Congress banned assault weapons, there was a stark decline in the use of these military-style weapons. We also know that wounds caused by assault weapons are much more severe and lethal than other firearms. If Illinois were to join the growing list of states that have outlawed these weapons, lives will be spared.”

 “We have the power to prevent the uniquely American tragedies that occur because of easy access to assault weapons and high-capacity magazines,” said Tanya Schardt, Senior Counsel and Director, State and Federal Policy at Brady. “From that mass shooting in Highland Park to daily incidents of gun violence in communities all over the state, too often, Illinoisians have experienced the devastation these weapons of war can cause.  Illinois state lawmakers should seize this moment and protect the public safety of their constituents by taking action to ban assault weapons now before more lives are lost and communities devastated.”

Halt the Assault will pair digital advocacy and paid media to reach concerned residents and drive them toward action. Campaign assets are attached, and you can learn more about the affiliated political action committee, G-PAC, in this video profile.

As the Lake County State’s Attorney, I am honored and humbled every day to lead the fight against crime, and to strive to ensure equal and just treatment under the law. I have been an attorney for twenty-two years – and each of those years has made me a stronger and smarter advocate for people, for ideas, and for the principles that unite us all.

I am so proud to lead an office of 140 dedicated colleagues who serve the public by prosecuting crime, advocating for victims, and planning crime prevention programs. I am also proud to work with hundreds of Lake County police officers on a daily basis to connect with every community and to develop comprehensive, holistic plans to respond to the mental health and economic crisis that arose from the COVID-19 pandemic.

On one particular day, July 4, 2022, I was saddened, inspired, and motivated by the bravery of so many people. We will always stand with the victims and honor the police and other first responders who ran toward the danger. Just as so many heroes that day thought only of themselves, I also witnessed the prosecutors in my office answer the call to serve survivors and their community – even on one of its darkest days.

Every moment that I have been your legal representative, I have worked tirelessly to oversee prosecutions and to implement policies that make my family and my neighbors safer in the short term and in the long term. That is the job of the State’s Attorney: to prosecute, to innovate, and to strategically plan.

I was raised in a small town. My parents are teachers, and from them, I learned that everyone must be treated equally and that America’s sacred mission is to provide a political, economic, and legal system that allows anyone to prosper regardless of the circumstances of their birth. After graduating from Knox College and the University of Chicago Law School, I spent two years at a first-rate civil law firm in Chicago where I learned that hard work and attention to detail on every case mean the difference between success and failure.

With my wonderful wife Stephanie, I am raising my two sons, Sam and Teddy, in Lake County. Nothing is more important to me than my family’s safety and I bring that passion and determination to protect all families with me to work every day.

I joined the Lake County Public Defender’s Office in 2003 and started my own law firm in 2009. From 2003 until 2020, I watched the Lake County legal system fail to prioritize violent crime, prevent wrongful prosecutions, or address racial disparities.

So, in 2019, I decided to run for State’s Attorney so that I could serve our community by improving a local legal system that cared more about covering up its mistakes and biases than uncovering new and innovative ways to help people.

I won the 2020 election, and became the first Democrat to hold this position in 40 years. Bringing in a new party wasn’t as important as ending 40 years of one mindset that had forgotten the people and that had failed to act urgently to develop new strategic plans to prevent crime while also ensuring that each prosecution is smart, moral, and just.

We have followed through on our promises. We have built the first-ever violent crimes unit, increased prosecutors in our domestic violence division, and vastly upgraded our cyber lab. Now, we have top-notch software and personnel to finally keep up with those who would exploit others.

We have been awarded a large federal grant to bring the first ever Human Trafficking Task Force to Lake County. We have deepened our investment in people by bringing in more victim specialists and raising the salaries of many of our prosecutors.

But the work goes on. We must expand our prevention efforts that are starting with the Gun Violence Prevention Initiative launched in 2022. And we know that the opioid crisis touches thousands of lives throughout this country.

I am proud to serve on the Executive Board of the Lake County Opioid Initiative which has been working tirelessly since its founding in 2012 to reverse a devastating trend of increased overdoses. In 2022, our office was part of a national settlement against opioid manufacturers and distributors.

As an attorney of 22 years, I have committed my life to helping people, and I have conducted over 70 jury trials in Lake County, and handled appeals that have culminated in over 20 oral arguments before the appellate court and Supreme Court of Illinois.

I see my time in this office as the next phase of helping a community that I love and where I have chosen to raise my family. In my first term, we have made Lake County safer and fairer through just prosecutions, constitutional policing, and innovative crime prevention policies.