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Everytown, Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action, LIVE FREE Illinois Applaud Illinois Lawmakers for Advancing Legislation on Cold Case Murders and Clearance Rates

April 5, 2024

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, released the following statement applauding Illinois lawmakers advancing House Bill 4753 and House Bill 4754 out of the Illinois House Judiciary-Criminal Committee. The Homicide Victims’ Families Rights Act would allow the surviving family members of victims of unsolved murders to petition law enforcement agencies to review cases that occurred more than three years prior. This bill honors gun violence survivors and families impacted by gun violence by addressing cold case clearance rates. 

“So many families like mine continue waiting year in and out, never getting answers or transparency,” said Marsha Lee, a survivor with the Everytown Survivor Network. “Solving gun homicides and assaults is essential to addressing our gun violence epidemic, it helps to increase community trust in law enforcement, breaking cycles of violence in our communities. This legislation will go a long way in helping to address the trauma experienced by gun violence survivors like me. We thank Illinois lawmakers for championing our survivor community by advancing HB 4753 and HB 4754. It is due time we pass the Homicide Victims’ Families Rights Act and the Homicide Data Transparency Act.”

“The Homicide Data Transparency Act will give Illinois survivors the ability to find closure when it comes to the murders of their loved ones,” said Illinois Representative Kam Buckner. “This will help create trust and accountability with Illinois law enforcement and families of victims of gun crimes. I am encouraged by my colleagues joining me in championing this bill and look forward to getting it over the finish line.”

“When it comes to crime in Chicago and across the state, it’s long past time to talk about something new: holding police departments accountable for their failures to solve the city’s homicides, especially in Black and brown communities,” said the Rev. Ciera Bates-Chamberlain, executive director of LIVE FREE Illinois. “The transparency required by the Homicide Data Transparency Act is crucial not only for survivors’ peace of mind and healing, but also because it would serve to meaningfully improve what is one of the few tools Illinois residents have to measure their local police department’s efficacy.”

Solving gun crimes is an important component in preventing gun violence and building community trust with law enforcement. By bringing families closure, this legislation can help to address the trauma of gun violence and promote healing among survivors and family members who have had loved ones taken by gun violence. Nationally, nearly half of murders and non-negligent homicides go unsolved. In 2021 in Chicago, which had its deadliest year in more than a quarter century, only about half of homicides were cleared, but less than half of those cleared homicides ended with an arrest. 

In an average year, 1,622 people die by guns and 2,715 are wounded by guns in Illinois. Guns are the leading cause of death among children and teens in Illinois, and an average of 193 children and teens die by guns every year. More information about gun violence in Illinois is available here.  

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