Washington, D.C., July 22, 2020 - Following the mass shooting in Chicago’s South Side neighborhood last night, Brady calls for renewed attention to the need to properly support community violence reduction programs and reduce the flow of crime guns into the community. The violence we see on the South Side of Chicago only proves that we need to redress systemic issues rooted in historic racism, structures founded in white supremacy, disinvestment, deprivation and indifference. These root causes coupled with weak gun laws in neighboring states like Indiana have perpetuated cycles of violence that are exacerbated by a criminal justice system that disproportionately incarcerates young Black men at horrifying rates and fails to effectively punish those profiting from the sale of guns into these communities.
Brady Illinois State Lead and Brady Board Member Delphine Cherry shared:
“I lost two children to gun violence. Yesterday’s shooting occurred at a funeral for a victim of gun violence, there are now 15 more people in that community who are victims of gun violence.
When will enough be enough?
We have been asking for solutions and assistance for too long. We need more than words, we need action. We need action from the federal government, but we cannot only be waiting for those in Washington to sign a bill. We need solutions that keep these guns off of our streets and address entrenched violence in our communities. We need leaders to support our communities and break these cycles of violence that enable individuals like those who committed yesterday’s shootings to obtain a gun and cause this harm.
I’ve said before that I’m crying for children and people whom I don’t even know. Today is no different, and that is unacceptable. This violence is unacceptable. It is not normal and we must see change and support from our elected officials.”
Brady President Kris Brown shared:
“Last night’s shooting is a reminder of the reality that many communities across our nation face on a daily basis. It shouldn’t have to be this way. Last night’s shooting in which 15 people were shot within minutes follows a surge in gun violence across the city this summer. That this shooting occurred at a funeral for a victim of gun violence makes that stark reality all too clear. Mayor Lightfoot cites too many guns on Chicago’s streets. While Chicago has some of the most effective gun laws in the country, we know that the vast majority of guns used in crimes in Chicago come from neighboring states with lax gun safety laws. Where you live should not determine if you live, but in today’s America too often it does.
In recent days, we’ve seen President Trump and other federal officials cite gun violence as a reason to send federal troops into American cities, despite being told by local officials that those troops are unwelcome and unwanted.
Let us be clear, Mr. President. Communities like those in Chicago affected by last night’s shooting need resources to meaningfully address the epidemic of gun violence, not troops. While we are cautiously heartened that it appears that these federal resources will be agents who are responsive to local authority, we know that Chicago needs more than federal agents to address gun violence. Affected communities need community violence interruption programs, adequate funding for daily needs, support for small businesses, and investment in neighborhood institutions like schools. We have asked for this funding. We have also asked for a federal expansion of background checks to close loopholes that allow individuals who should not possess guns to purchase them. You have been silent. The community has asked for humane treatment, investment in programs that address root causes, and equal access to opportunities. You have repeatedly responded with racism, dehumanization, and punitive threats.
Our gun violence epidemic will not be solved with more bullets. Our hearts are with Chicago this morning.”
Chicago has become a red herring for national figures opposed to common-sense gun violence protections, particularly President Trump. The city has seen increasing rates of gun violence since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, calling it a “perfect storm.”
While Illinois has strong gun laws, many weapons are brought into the state and into Chicago from neighboring states with less robust regulations. In fact, a 2017 report found that 60 percent of guns used in crimes in Chicago from 2013 to 2016 came from other states, with 21 percent coming from neighboring Indiana. Illinois is plagued by the reality that its gun laws are only as strong as its neighbors, despite having passed numerous laws to prevent gun violence at the state level, including providing state police additional authority to inspect gun dealers who are found to violate federal laws and standards. Illinois and Chicago are an example of why we need comprehensive, federal action to reduce gun violence and stop the flow of crime guns across city and state borders. We need leaders at every level of elected office, including in Congress and in the White House, who understand this reality and will work to solve it, not use gun violence in Chicago as a racially-charged red herring to twist public opinion.
Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.