Lightfoot, lawmakers and activists gather to discuss how to get guns off Chicago's streets
CHICAGO - Local leaders and activists came together Friday to talk about gun violence prevention and solutions for getting weapons off Chicago’s streets.
The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act — passed after the Uvalde, Texas school shooting — has been touted as the country's most significant piece of gun legislation in decades.
On Friday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and both U.S. senators from Illinois hosted one of the bill's sponsors on the city's South Side to talk about how to implement the law locally.
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"This gets framed as a gun bill, but as Senator Durbin said – in this bill is $15 billion in investment in community safety, school safety, mental health, and trauma," said Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut.
Murphy is one of the champions of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. He joined local community leaders and anti-violence activists in the Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood.
"We really passed this bill because we built something that had power," he said.
The law bolsters states' "red flag" laws through increased funding, offers more protection for victims of domestic violence, tightens up licensing requirements for gun dealers, and lengthens the review process for anyone under 21 who tries to buy a gun, among other measures.
Senator Tammy Duckworth stressed the need for a ban on assault weapons.
"That's the thing about gun violence, it doesn't care who the victim is," said Duckworth. "The victims are babies sleeping in their cribs, the victims are mothers pushing strollers. The victims are innocent bystanders. There are people driving on the interstate. The victims are police officers."
Senator Dick Durbin pointed to the need for juvenile offenders to receive more counseling.
"Virtually all of them have one thing in common, they are victims of trauma. Trauma meaning they've gone through a life experience, which has really set them on a bad path, where they need a helping hand to get back on the straight and narrow," Durbin said.
The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act also increases funding for violence-interruption programs and for schools to enhance their mental health services.