Washington, D.C., April 8, 2020 - Today, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Interim Police Superintendent Charlie Beck shared the need to end gun violence across Chicago, following the city’s most violent day of 2020, where seven people were killed and an additional 14 injured by gun violence across the city. The Chicago Tribune reports that there were more people killed by guns in the city on Tuesday than on any single day since August of 2018. Brady joins with the Mayor in reiterating the need to end gun violence.
Brady President Kris Brown shared:
“The violence in Chicago over the last several days is a reminder that even as our country faces a global pandemic, families and communities are still facing and dealing with daily gun violence. The volume of shootings in Chicago yesterday is a stark testament to that fact. And, as Mayor Lightfoot noted, the demands that these shootings place on the city’s health systems are exceptionally worrisome while the system confronts strains in coping with coronavirus.
Importantly, Mayor Lightfoot is right when she shared how the "disproportionate burden" that Black Chicagoans face related to COVID-19 are the “same communities [that] continue to be plagued by gun violence.” The Mayor is right to spotlight how a history of systemic disparities has fueled both of these crises. Far from the looting or widespread chaos envisioned by the gun lobby and the NRA’s Twitter feed, gun homicide in Chicago during COVID-19 looks much the same as it did before the pandemic.
It’s why we need solutions that address that history and the root causes of community violence. Chicago is afflicted by an influx of guns from outside of the city and the state, brought from states with lax gun safety laws. The city has likewise committed to spending millions on community-based initiatives. These kinds of solutions are a part of why Chicago has continued to see decreases in gun violence by meaningfully investing in communities to break cycles of violence. It is also why today must remind us that we cannot become complacent in the need to address this life-or-death issue.”
It is not surprising gun violence continues to wreak disproportionate harm on Chicago’s Black community even as COVID-19 takes its own toll, because inequality and piecemeal solutions exacerbate both issues. Chicago does not exist in a vacuum. Yet, gun violence in Chicago has become a red herring for national figures opposed to common-sense gun violence protections to point to, despite decreasing crime and gun violence levels.
While Illinois has effective gun laws, many weapons are brought into the state and into Chicago from neighboring states with less robust regulations. In fact,a 2014 report found that 60 percent of guns used in crimes in Chicago from 2009 to 2013 came from other states, with 19 percent coming from neighboring Indiana. Illinois is plagued by the reality that its gun laws are only as strong as its neighbors.
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.