CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich joined Rev. Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Superintendent Arne Duncan, hundreds of CPS students and other elected officials today at a rally at the James R. Thompson Center calling for sensible gun laws in the aftermath of several recent shootings that have claimed young lives. This rally comes after a string of violent shootings that have claimed the lives of 21 Chicago Public School students in this school year alone and injured many more. Over the past weekend, two more students were senselessly shot and just last night another young life was claimed.
“We continue to lose innocent lives to senseless gun violence – too many bright futures have been cut short. We have seen the tragedy that gun violence wreaks on families and on entire communities. When a child is murdered by a senseless shot, our collective hearts ache. Ignoring this problem comes at an increasing and devastating cost,” said Governor Blagojevich. “We need to stop this violence that is plaguing our cities and we need to stop it now. I urge the legislature to take action this year to make our communities safer.”
During the rally, the Governor joined Rev. Pfleger in calling for the passage of new ‘commonsense’ gun legislation, including several proposed bills which would limit individuals to purchasing one gun per month, reinstate the assault weapon ban, require all gun sales to require a background check of the purchaser, and make criminal gun data public.
In December 2007, Governor Blagojevich created the SafetyNet Works, which provides grants to community organizations to engage youth in alternative activities to violence. This includes sports, recreational and social events, employment programs, and substance abuse prevention. Last August, the Governor signed SB940 which requires the Illinois State Police (ISP) to report information on people who are prohibited from buying or owning guns to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NCIS).
According to the Brady Campaign, in 2006, over 1,100 people died from gun violence in Illinois - which is more than three people each day.