Gun Violence Killed My Son by Maria Pike Davis

I am a resident of Chicago, I lived 25 years in Lakeview and my son Ricky was murdered in Logan Square on Aug. 3, 2012. He was 24 years old.

The most gun-ridden area of Chicago is a few minutes away from Indiana. Because of the porosity of our borders and the fast growth of the gun industry, our federal laws need to be strengthened not only to protect our Second Amendment rights, which we all enjoy, but to make sure that we have done our best to protect our law-abiding citizens and our children from the devastation we are witnessing.

How much does this cost Illinois per year, per person in terms of human services? Thousands of dollars for families and labor loss due to post-traumatic stress disorder and other collateral psychological and medical needs. How much does a gun cost? In Indiana, between $50 and $100, not including higher-capacity weapons. Just a few days ago the police caught a man with hundreds of guns coming from Indiana to sell in our streets.

I once had two sons who were raised with the same love that our lawmakers raised their own. They went to good schools. My Ricky was a double honors student at Lincoln Park High School, loved sports, became a chef at Le Cordon Bleu, worked full-time as well as going to college and studied to become a nutritionist to build onto his culinary skills. He was a popular kid, and his friends were great. He left us two months after moving to a supposedly safe and trendy neighborhood. He was shot with a semi-automatic gun trying to park in front of his apartment.

I thought my job was done. Little did I know I was about to begin this journey as a gun safety activist and have recently returned from D.C. with the Newtown Action Alliance and gun violence victims across the nation to lobby for safer gun laws.

I am now coming from the comfort of my privacy to ask Congress to join us and co-sponsor the bill to improve background checks at the federal level. This can at the very least put a brake on illegal trafficking from other states, force out people who shouldn’t have guns, who can—as the law now stands—do it legally through private sales, the Internet, etc. I know that they will go to the black market, that an awful lot more needs to be done at the local level, but this is a start that can instantly save the lives of thousands. Let the mentally ill and the criminals try harder and risk more—we will have a better chance to catch them.

As Gov. Pat Quinn offers to Mayor Rahm Emanuel police reinforcement, and there is no respite from the avalanche of guns that continue to be peddled in Chicago and the suburbs, I am calling Congress members to serve their country, their consciences and their hearts. I want to see the grandchild I may have by my surviving son play in the park with the smile made out of innocence and a soul untouched by our struggles.

We are grateful for the members of Newtown Alliance for reaching out to us in the understanding that gun violence and its proliferation is an epidemic that affects all of us and destroys the potential of a great nation like ours.

We know this is what the majority of the nation wants —including 74 percent of the NRA members. We need Congress to make the wishes of our people a reality.

— Maria Pike Davis, Chicago

Originally posted at

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.