SB 1996, the Fix the FOID Act, seeks to ensure that people with
violent criminal histories cannot purchase guns

CHICAGO (May 8, 2019) — A new poll released today, finds that two-thirds of Illinois voters support legislation that addresses loopholes in the state’s existing gun licensing system that were brought to light following the tragic shooting that took five lives on February 15, 2019 in Aurora, Illinois.

The poll, released by the Illinois Gun Violence Prevention PAC (G-PAC), shows major support from across the state for SB 1996, the Fix the FOID Act, which addresses gaps in the Firearms Owners Identification (FOID) system by ensuring that people with criminal histories, who are prohibited from gun possession, are not able to easily evade the law and purchase guns.

“Five innocent lives in Aurora, Illinois were lost because a system that should have prevented a known felon from having access to guns failed,” said Kathleen Sances, president and CEO of G-PAC. “Now, residents from across the state are uniting behind legislation that would put a stop to preventable tragedies, like this one, in Illinois.”

The poll also shows that Illinois voters are more likely to support state lawmakers who support the bill, by a margin of nearly 2-to-1.

“In Illinois, voters want to know their legislators are committed to making sure criminals can’t get their hands on a gun,” said Robin Lloyd, managing director of Giffords, the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Representative Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Captain Mark Kelly. “The results of this poll shouldn’t come as a surprise. Illinois residents want to live in a state free from the dangers of everyday gun violence, and SB 1996 addresses loopholes that contribute to this growing crisis. We look forward to the legislators continuing to work to protect Illinoisans from gun violence and will do all we can to help swiftly move this bill through the legislature.”

“I know what it’s like to lose a child to gun violence. It’s something no parent or guardian should ever have to go through,” said Tom Vanden Berk, founder of G-PAC and CEO Emeritus of UCAN, a social services agency. “This legislation would strengthen existing laws to protect Illinois families from experiencing the pain of losing a loved one.”

Under current Illinois law, individuals seeking to buy a gun must first obtain a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) Card from the Department of State Police. Voters overwhelmingly support the Act’s three key provisions:

  • 81 percent support a provision that would require a background check for all gun sales, including those by a private seller.
  • 75 percent support a provision that would reduce the FOID Card duration from 10 years to 5 years.
  • 73 percent support a provision that would require applicants for FOID Cards to apply in person with the State Police and submit fingerprints as part of their application

Fix the FOID Act would also mandate the State Police take action to remove guns once a FOID Card is revoked.

Support for the bill comes from across the state and is favored by 77 percent, roughly three-quarters of voters in the City of Chicago; 74 percent of voters in suburban Cook County; 75 percent of voters in the “collar counties” of DuPage, Kane, McHenry and Will; as well as 48 percent, nearly half of voters in Downstate Illinois.

Support is broad-based, as this proposal attracts support from across the state and across the political spectrum, and comes notably from the following:

  • 84 percent of Democrats, 60 percent of independents, nearly half of Republicans;
  • 70 percent of women and 61 percent of men;
  • 64 percent of voters age 18-54 and 67 percent of those age 55 and older; and
  • 82 percent of black voters, 65 percent of white voters and 61 percent of Latino voters.

The poll was conducted by Tulchin Research on behalf of the Gun Violence Prevention Action Committee. The survey was comprised of 600 likely November 2020 voters in Illinois between April 25-30 of 2019.


The Illinois Gun Violence Prevention PAC (G-PAC) is a non-partisan political action committee that was founded to counter the political influence of the gun industry and their lobby in Springfield, Illinois. G-PAC raises the resources necessary to protect and elect public officials who step up to fight the gun violence epidemic, and work against those who don’t support keeping our communities safe.

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.