G-PAC Applauds Congress for Passing Gun Violence Prevention Legislation After 28 Years of Inaction

Friday, June 24, 2022

G-PAC Applauds Congress for Passing Gun Violence Prevention Legislation After 28 Years of Inaction

Gun Violence Prevention Advocates Call for Continued Federal Urgency Following SCOTUS Ruling

Chicago — The Gun Violence Prevention PAC (G-PAC) is applauding Congress for breaking their decades-long streak of inaction on gun legislation with the passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, while urging for stronger federal action in the wake of the Supreme Court overturning New York State’s handgun law.

“As a nonpartisan organization that has rallied bipartisan support behind major gun violence prevention efforts here in Illinois, G-PAC applauds the members of Congress from both parties who voted for common-sense gun legislation,” said Kathleen Sances, President & CEO of the Gun Violence Prevention PAC. “We particularly want to recognize Senator Richard Durbin, who has long pushed to increase federal penalties for straw purchases, a key component of this bill.”

The new federal gun bill will significantly increase federal prison terms for straw purchasers of guns. Straw purchasers who buy guns for others are the way Chicago gangs get almost all of their guns. False identification as a purchaser is already a federal crime but the new law makes the resale or transfer an explicit new federal crime carrying a prison term of up to 15 years.

This provision adds stronger federal penalties to the Illinois law we successfully supported last year that makes the resale or transfer a state crime unless the transferee has passed a background check. “Enforcing these laws against straw purchasers is now the single most important step to reduce criminal violence in Chicago,” said Sances.

Since Illinois already has a red flag law, other provisions of the new federal law have minimal impact here. Illinois’ law applies to residents at age 21 for buying all guns (except with parental consent over 18) and includes non-spousal abuse in its gun purchase prohibitions. “We welcome the application of these common sense controls in other states whose residents may come into Illinois and commit gun violence here,” said Sances.

Despite this legislation being the most significant reform Congress has passed in decades, it remains a small step forward, particularly in comparison to yesterday’s setback in the U.S. Supreme Court.

“While this legislation is a necessary first step in curbing gun violence that plagues communities across our country, it is critical we continue to fight for meaningful progress on the federal level,” continued Sances. “G-PAC urges Congress to pass stronger legislation to take weapons of war off our streets, such as assault rifles and high-capacity magazines. Especially in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision that permits handguns in public spaces at the cost of public safety, Congress cannot be satisfied and think this bill is enough. Lives are at stake.”


About Gun Violence Prevention PAC (G-PAC)

The Gun Violence Prevention Political Action Committee (G-PAC) is the state’s leading gun violence advocacy organization. It was founded in 2013 to counter the political influence of the gun industry and their lobby in Springfield.

MEDIA CONTACT: ahanns@kivvit.com

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.