Statement on Gun Violence Crisis

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Media Contact:  Kathleen Sances  847-920-4722. For now is the time for Legislators to show more than thoughts and prayers to keep Illinois children, families, and communities safe from deadly gun violence

As Illinois begins to reopen, we are returning to tragic headlines about senseless acts of violence with guns. Eight people were shot dead including six Asian women in a hate crime in Atlanta, Georgia last Tuesday. Ten people were massacred while grocery shopping in Boulder, Colorado on Monday. State Senator Elgie Sims was threatened and chased at gunpoint by a man who possessed an illegal gun and ammunition. Two people killed and one injured just yesterday in a shooting in East St. Louis. Tragedies like these will continue to repeat themselves until legislators take action.

Last year in Illinois, 343 people were shot in 69 mass shootings, a 60% increase from 2019 and nearly 60% of Chicago’s youngest children live in community areas where 91% of homicides took
place. Worse, more than 27,000 Illinoisans may be armed despite losing their right to own a gun. We cannot stand idly by while gun violence continues to destroy our communities.

Statement from Kathleen Sances, Gun Violence Prevention PAC President and CEO: “Our one job is to keep our kids, families, and communities safe from Illinois’ gun violence epidemic. Across
Illinois, from Chicago, to Peoria, to Aurora, to Springfield and East St Louis, gun violence fueled by illegal guns is taking the lives of too many of our children and families – particularly in
communities of color.” She continued, “Now is the time for legislators in Springfield to show they can do more than send thoughts and prayers or post meaningless social media posts.

Legislators can and should support laws like HB3245/SB568 the Block Illegal Ownership and Fix the FOID bill that will curb the flow of illegal guns that are causing so many preventable gun
violence tragedies. There is no time to wait for the next tragedy. I call upon the Illinois General Assembly to pass this bill to expand background checks and invest in resources for impacted
communities immediately.”


GVP (Gun Violence Prevention) Illinois is a group of organizations whose one aim is to reduce death and injury by firearms in Illinois.

Download a copy of our statement: Press Statement on Gun Violence Crisis

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.