straw pur·chase (noun) #STS

straw pur·chase (noun)

a criminal act in which a person who is prohibited from buying firearms uses another person to buy a gun on their behalf.

Is anyone paying attention? After recording the fewest murders in decades last year, violence in Chicago is soaring. We have seen a 40% increase in shootings and 29% more homicides in the first three months of this year.[i]

Our violence problem is directly linked to the number of illegal guns available. We can’t stop the flow of illegal guns coming over our borders from states that do not require background checks (that’s the federal government’s job), but we can stop easy access to guns by preventing straw purchases here in Illinois.

We know that state and local regulation of gun dealers, coupled with regular compliance inspections are associated with significantly less trafficking of guns to criminals.[ii]

It is time to hold accountable straw purchasers, retail stores and irresponsible gun owners who arm criminals and young people.

Here are the facts:

Current federal regulations require gun dealers to be licensed, but lack of resources for oversight and enforcement has resulted in guns getting into the wrong hands far too often.

There are 2000 gun dealers in Illinois, but four of these sold more than 3000 of the guns recovered from crime scenes in Chicago between 2009 and 2013 alone.[iii]  All other dealers combined sold a total of three guns to criminals in the same period. These guns get put in the wrong hands and our children and family members end up dead, caught in the gang crossfire in their backyards.

Here’s the solution:

State licensing of gun dealers and ammunition sellers (HB 3422/SB 1883)

The law would put into place some important safeguards.

  • Pre-approval process for an initial license with renewal every 5 years
  • All owners and their employees will undergo required background checks
  • Inventory records and video recording of sales, and video security will be required to prevent  theft and straw purchases
  • Stores will be inspected twice per year and inventory records compared to actual stock
  • Penalties for non-compliance can include loss of license, probation, fines up to $10,000 per violation and suspension

Sign the petition to pass this public safety measure before our state has a record-breaking year of shootings and homicides. Easy access to guns in Illinois is killing our children and devastating our communities. Illinois needs this law now.


Sign the petition here.


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.