ICYMI: Gun Safety Organizations Send Letter To Speaker Welch Supporting HB 562

Chicago, Illinois  – A coalition of organizations supporting stronger gun safety laws recently sent a letter to Speaker of the House Emmanuel “Chris” Welch urging the passage of HB 562 through the House after the Senate passed the legislation. The letter of support was sent as more Illinoisans were killed by gun violence, including a mass shooting in Englewood early this morning and a mass shooting in Chatham over the weekend that wounded ten and claimed the life of Kimfier Miles, a mother of three in “the prime of her life.” It also follows a study released last month that ranked Illinois fifth in black homicides, more proof that gun violence is a major equity issue.

June 11, 2021

Dear Speaker Welch,

We, the undersigned organizations, comprised of millions of gun violence prevention advocates, survivors, policymakers, public health professionals, attorneys, as well as tens of thousands of Illinoisians, write to you to state our collective support for House Bill 562, which will address and prevent gun violence by expanding background checks to all gun sales in Illinois, invest $9 million for mental health programs in the communities most impacted by gun violence, allow Illinois State Police (ISP) to remove guns from people with revoked Firearms Owners Identification (FOID) cards who have not surrendered their weapon, and other life-saving measures. We thank you and your chamber for your support of gun violence prevention to date and we urge you to support this bill to further protect the lives of people in Illinois.

Gun violence is a public health crisis, impacting far too many Illinoisians. In 2019, nearly 1,400 Illinoisians died from gun violence, 58% of which were homicides and 40% of which were suicides. That same year, 179 children and teens were killed by a gun – more than the number of legislators in the Illinois General Assembly. These deaths are preventable, and there is a large body of research showing that gun violence prevention policies, including universal background checks with strong firearm licensing systems and firearms restraining orders, are effective in reducing gun deaths and injuries.

Easy access to firearms is associated with an increase in firearm suicide, homicide, and unintentional injuries. Research has consistently shown that states with stronger gun laws have lower rates of gun violence. The undersigned organizations are concerned about recent increases in gun violence across the state. HB 562 provides critical protections and meaningful resources to those most impacted by gun violence in Illinois.

Some of the key components of the bill are as follows:

  • Requires background checks on all gun sales;
  • Provides $9 million of funding for mental health programs;
  • Removes firearms from individuals with revoked FOID cards that have not yet surrendered them;
  • Incentivizes fingerprinting for all FOID applicants;
  • Allows for a stolen firearms database;
  • Requires Illinois State Police to monitor state and federal databases for prohibited firearm purchasers and update the records with FOID card holders; and
  • Improves processes to secure more funding for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS)

We believe that passing HB 562 will be a critical step in keeping people safe from gun violence by preventing individuals who would be illegal firearm purchasers from accessing guns. Passage of this life-saving bill must be a priority of the legislature.

As such, the undersigned organizations urge you to pass HB 562.


G-PAC Illinois


Coalition to Stop Gun Violence



Everytown for Gun Safety

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America

Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago

Strengthening Chicago’s Youth

LIVE FREE Illinois


Purpose Over Pain

States United to Prevent Gun Violence

March for Our Lives

Heartland Alliance

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.