Chicago – Gun violence survivors and gun safety advocates with Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, alongside representatives of the Institute for Nonviolence Chicago, were joined today (October 14) by U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Chris Murphy (D-CT), Mayor Lori Lightfoot, and community partners for a roundtable discussion on the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. The discussion centered on solutions to address gun violence in Chicago and the role the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act will have in supporting and expanding local gun safety efforts.
“Guns are now the leading cause of death for America’s children,” said Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL). “Just this past weekend, more than two dozen people were shot in Chicago—including nine who were shot in the span of four hours. This is a daily horror for residents of our city. Earlier this year, Congress finally came together to pass the landmark Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the most significant gun violence prevention legislation in nearly three decades. While it doesn’t include everything we need, it’s a crucial starting point that will help save lives right here in Chicago, and all across America.”
“It’s on us to be allies to the Black and Brown Americans who for far too long have been burdened by gun violence then left to deal with dehumanizing narratives instead of compassion and change,” said U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL). “I was proud to vote for the bipartisan Safer Communities Act earlier this year to help reduce senseless gun violence, and I will keep pushing for the additional substantive reforms. Because if we don’t do more, like ban assault weapons and get these weapons of war off our streets, more innocent lives will undoubtedly be lost.”
“The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act will make cities like Chicago safer by tightening our federal gun laws, helping prosecutors go after gun traffickers and straw purchasers responsible for the flow of illegal guns into our cities, and investing in community violence intervention programs,” said Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT). “We have a lot more work to do, and it was great to join Senators Durbin and Duckworth to hear directly from community leaders on how we can best support their fight to end gun violence.”
“In order to truly create a safer Chicago, we must address the scourge of gun violence that ripples through our communities,” said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “Key to this important mission is working collaboratively with community leaders, who know their neighborhoods best and in many cases, have the lived experience necessary to connect with and assist others who have been impacted by gun violence. By working together to keep illegal guns off our streets, implementing violence intervention initiatives and reclaiming our communities from individuals seeking to do harm, we can and we will change our city for the better.”
“It’s inspiring to see some of Washington’s most committed gun sense champions join forces with some of Chicago’s most effective gun safety advocates,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act has the potential to save countless lives in Chicago, and we applaud these leaders for working together to make good on that promise.”
“I have felt firsthand the pain that Chicago and communities across Illinois are facing in the wake of constant gun violence, and these tragedies underscore just how critical meaningful actions to address gun violence are,” said Alicia Schemel, a member of the Everytown Survivor Network whose father was shot and killed in 1999 and volunteer with the Illinois chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We are grateful to the leaders who joined us today to hear our stories, celebrate the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act’s historic step forward and to discuss how to effectively implement it to save lives and end gun violence.”
The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, a historic gun safety, mental health, and school safety bill sponsored by U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT), John Cornyn (R-TX), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and Thom Tillis (R-NC), passed by strong bipartisan majorities in both the U.S. Senate and House and was signed into law by President Biden in June – the first major federal gun safety law to pass Congress in 26 years. The legislation establishes an enhanced background check process for gun buyers under age 21, provides federal funding to implement state Red Flag laws, disarms domestic abusers by addressing the dating partner loophole, and funds community violence intervention programs, among other items.
In the wake of the tragic shootings in Uvalde and Buffalo, Everytown supporters, alongside gun violence survivors and Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers, showed up in Washington, D.C., and in the home states of U.S. senators to call for action, and sent over one million calls and messages to the U.S. Senate and dropped off tens of thousands of petitions at home state offices urging them to take bold action. In early June, Everytown and Moms Demand Action held more than 350 events across all 50 states for National Gun Violence Awareness Day and Wear Orange Weekend. As Senators were negotiating this bill earlier this year, Everytown and Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action held two rallies on Capitol Hill.
Since its passage, Everytown has been a leader in ensuring the full implementation and strong enforcement of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. In July, Everytown released comprehensive guidance for state and local leaders to make use of the historic policies included in the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. This guidance includes actions governors, state legislatures, and local leaders can take right now to prepare for and effectively utilize every part of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. Additionally, in August, Everytown called on the Biden-Harris Administration to fully implement the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act with regulatory action that cracks down on no-background-check sales by clarifying the definition of a gun seller who is “engaged in the business.” Everytown continues to work with cities, states, and the Biden-Harris Administration to ensure this historic law is effectively implemented to save as many lives as possible.