Reducing Gun Violence in Our Communities

I heard it during the gun violence roundtable I hosted last month, and I continue to hear it every day: Congress must act now to help reduce gun violence we see too often in our communities.

We see it on our TVs every day.  Random shootings, innocent lives lost, families shattered. Here in Illinois it feels like an epidemic.  And nationally, more 33 people die every day due to gun violence. 

In just the past two years, the tragedies in Tucson, Aurora, Oak Creek and Newtown shocked us to our cores. These mass shootings blind us with grief and pain, but they also open our eyes to the tragedies—the less publicized ones—that occur each and every day, from big city streets to small town homes.

More often than not, the localized instances of violence don’t command the attention of the nation, but once in a while one does.

Hadiya Pendleton was an honor student, and as a majorette in the band, she performed at the President’s inauguration. Hers was a life full of promise and hope. She would make a difference in this world because she was determined to. But Hadiya’s life was tragically cut short on a rainy January afternoon.

Cleopatra Cowley, Hadiya’s mother, said what we all felt in our hearts: no parent should ever have to experience this. No parent should ever experience the pain of burying a child.

Joining a number of my colleagues seeking to highlight the importance of addressing gun violence, I chose to invite Cleopatra to the President’s State of the Union address Tuesday night. I was so pleased that she and Hadiya's father, Nate, had the chance to sit beside First Lady Michelle Obama during the speech.

Cleopatra is a powerful and heartbreaking new voice joining a chorus calling for common sense action to reduce these senseless acts. She should be an inspiration to us all as we work to sensibly reduce the gun violence in our communities.

And while I know no matter what we do that we can’t completely prevent these tragedies from ever occurring, we do have the opportunity to save lives.

I heard it during the gun violence roundtable I hosted last month, and I continue to hear it every day: Congress must act now because we all have a responsibility to seize this moment and make a difference.

We need to implement universal background checks—a smart step that more than 90 percent of Americans support.

We need to finally make gun trafficking a federal crime.

We need to expand access to mental-health treatment.

We need to limit access to large capacity magazines and military-style assault weapons.

We need act for Hadiya and the countless other young people whose lives are abruptly ended in senseless acts of gun violence.  We need to act for those killed in Newtown, in Aurora, in Oak Creek, in Tucson.  We need to act for the 33 we lose each and every day to gun violence.

This is the moment.  This is our time.  Let's get to work.


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Charles February 22, 2013 at 07:47 PM
First of all, at some point it will go in front of the SC and I have no illusions about that. Whether baby Madigan is the one or not, I won't speculate. The monkey she has on her back if she does is that it's there are "May Issue" states with democratic majority that won't want her to and I'd bet good money they are on the phone with her today probably trying to discourage her from going further. So far the Federal courts have ruled in favor of the 2nd amendment at all turns. Chicago anti gun democrats are 0 for 0. If the Feds rule in favor of this issue to our satisfaction, the "May Issue" states become "Shall Issue" states. If you want more info on this, start reading up on it. I don't worry about Scalia or anyone else for that matter. I follow the law as I have been in the past. I don't like 35 mph speed limits on some roads, but I follow them just the same. Having the right to carry "if" I want to doesn't necessarily mean I will all the time. As pro-firearm, ccw and what ever as I am, for me there are very few places I go that I would need or want to. I have a cc permit in two other states and only one of them I carry more often than the other. CC is for self protection only.... if I am CCing in some public place it's not my job to do a cop's job to prevent an incident unless it is a direct threat to me. 49 other states did not turn into wild west scenarios so that part of your comment is just more cr@p that is unfounded.
Charles February 22, 2013 at 07:51 PM
There's already a bill that has been drawn up. HB0997 and it was crafted by a southern Democrat, Brandon Phelps. He's one of the good guys.
RB February 22, 2013 at 07:55 PM
Most other States have some regulation around CC and if the Leglislature does not act, we will have NONE. So, no that's not like 49 other States.
Charles February 22, 2013 at 08:01 PM
We tried time and time again to get good cc amendments passed. The Chicago machine kept telling us no.. no.. no.. at every turn. Now that the 7th, last December ruled in our favor, the Chicago Democrats want to "act". We made a lot of concessions in previous bills... not so now.... They had 180 days from last Dec. what ever... June 8th, whether they pass this bill or not (unless Madigan appeals to the SC), we get get it either way. Anti's had their chance, told us no... now they reap what they sew. Your WW theory is still unfounded.
Vicky Kujawa March 02, 2013 at 09:28 PM
Unfortunately, it's the citizens of this country that are the ultimate losers.


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