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Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action, Everytown Respond After Illinois Legislature Adjourns Without Senate Action on House-Backed Gun Safety Legislation

May 27, 2020

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Illinois chapter of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety, today released the following statement after the Illinois legislature adjourned without any action in the Senate on the House-passed Block Illegal Gun Ownership (BIO) bill, which would have strengthened gun safety laws by:

  • Requiring point-of-sales background checks on all gun sales
  • Requiring that FOID (Firearm Owners Identification) Card applicants be fingerprinted
  • Reducing the duration of a FOID Card from ten years to five years; and
  • Ensuring that prohibited possessors do not keep their guns or their FOID cards

“It’s too easy for someone who might be a threat to themselves or others to get a firearm,” said Chris Peters, a volunteer with the Illinois chapter of Moms Demand Action. “We’ve seen this in the Aurora mass shooting and over and over again in daily gun violence that continues to plague our state. Lawmakers need to prioritize Illinois families by protecting them from senseless gun violence and passing the BIO bill.”

“Enough is enough,” said Kathy Pisabj, a volunteer with the Illinois Students Demand Action. “Every day, I wake up and see preventable gun violence all over the news. With common-sense gun safety legislation like the BIO bill, our state could be safer for Illinois families, but Illinois Senators refuse to act.”

The tragic mass shooting in Aurora in February 2019, where five people were shot and killed and six others were wounded, exposed weaknesses in the FOID system that make it too easy for people who might be a threat to themselves or others to access guns. This month, volunteers from across the state gathered virtually for their annual advocacy day to urge Illinois senators — through email, calls, letters, and social media — to pass the BIO bill. 

Gun violence has not stopped amid the coronavirus pandemic. Over Memorial Day Weekend, 9 people had been shot and killed — with 30 more shot and wounded — in Chicago, making it the deadliest Memorial Day weekend since 2015 according to the Chicago Tribune. On average, Illinois has over 1,300 gun deaths every year, and the totals continue to rise—increasing 32 percent in the last decade, compared to an 18 percent increase nationwide. 

Illinois also has the second-highest gun homicide rate for Black people of any state in the country. Black people in Illinois are also 34 times as likely to die by gun homicide as white people, compared to 10 times as likely nationwide. 

This session, Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers drove over 3,000 emails to Illinois state lawmakers to encourage them to prioritize gun safety legislation such as the BIO bill. 

Statistics about gun violence in Illinois are available here, and information on how Illinois’ gun laws compare to other states’ overall is available here

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