The Illinois chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statements in response to a shooting during a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois. While details are still unfolding, media reports show that at least six people were shot and killed and at least 26 others were wounded.
“A day intended to be an acknowledgement of this country’s freedoms has turned into yet another painful reminder of how in America we’re never free of the fear that any situation can turn deadly because of our uniquely American gun violence epidemic,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “This shooting is a devastating and horrific, but logical, outcome of a nation awash in too many guns regulated by too few laws, and a Supreme Court deadset on making us less safe.”
“How can one enjoy the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as the founders wrote 246 years ago today, if we can’t even go to a parade or go to a grocery store without the threat of gun violence?” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “While the Supreme Court is hell-bent on putting more guns on the streets, it’s clear that the courts and our lawmakers need to do more to prevent gun violence — not enable it. As our hearts are with the families of the victims and survivors, we resolve to keep fighting to end this deadly epidemic.”
“Our hearts go out to the families of the victims and survivors of this horrible shooting,” said Leah Kirschner, a volunteer with the Illinois chapter of Moms Demand Action who was en route to the parade with her children when the shooting occurred. “Freedom should mean being able to enjoy a parade with our families without worrying about gun violence. We don’t have to live this way.”
“I am furious, scared, and shocked at this unthinkable act of violence that has shattered our sense of safety — but I will not surrender and allow gun violence to become a way of life,” said Elly Zaid, a native Chicagoan and gun violence survivor, and volunteer with the Illinois chapter of Students Demand Action. “As we grieve, we refuse to accept that every part of a student’s life, from marching in an Independence Day parade to simply going to school, can turn deadly in the blink of an eye. Our leaders at every level must keep prioritizing gun safety, because we refuse to live our lives like this.
This is the 12th mass shooting in the United States in 2022, and the 279th mass shooting since 2009. In an average year, 1,505 people die and 4,148 people are wounded by guns in Illinois. Gun violence costs Illinois $10.6 billion each year, of which $668.9 million is paid by taxpayers. More information about gun violence in Illinois is available here.