On the 2nd Anniversary of the Aurora Shooting, We Reintroduced the BIO Bill

Today, we joined Illinois public safety advocates, gun violence survivors, State Senator Ram Villivalam, and State Representative Kathleen Willis to honor the second anniversary of the Henry Pratt Company workplace shooting in Aurora. We memorialized those lost – Clayton Parks, Trevor Whener, Russ Beyer, Vicenete Juarez, and Josh Pinkard – and those injured in this horrible act of gun violence.

In their memories we pledged to reintroduce and pass the BIO (Block Illegal Gun Ownership) Bill to Fix the FOID, a bill that can save lives by closing the loopholes that allowed the Aurora shooter to obtain and keep his illegal gun.

In April 2019, we introduced the BIO Bill to close the glaring loopholes in Illinois gun laws that allowed the shooters at Mercy Hospital and Henry Pratt Company  to obtain and keep their illegal guns.The bill quickly passed the Illinois House but stalled in the State Senate, despite the almost 23,000 emails and 10,000 calls constituent advocates, like you, made to your legislators.

Here’s the bottom line: we are not giving up! We are more committed than ever to honoring gun violence survivors by making sure legislators hear our voices loud and clear until they prioritize our public safety instead of their politics – and pass the BIO Bill.

The BIO Bill, is based on research conducted by Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Policies to Reduce Gun Violence in Illinois that provides evidence-based recommendations to reduce gun violence by:

  • Closing the person-to-person background check loophole;
  • Requiring a fingerprint for FOID (Firearm Owner ID) cards;
  • Requiring action by Illinois State Police to remove guns once a FOID CARD is revoked; and
  • Funding the communities most impacted by gun violence through investing concealed carry fees in mental health services.

Please join us in sending a clear message to Springfield that it’s time for legislators in both parties to put aside petty politics and act to save lives by passing the BIO Bill.

Click here to ask your elected officials in Springfield to co-sponsor the BIO Bill


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.