CHICAGO – Lt. Governor Sheila Simon's Firearms Working Group will meet with parents who have lost children to gun violence on Friday afternoon at Saint Sabina Church in Chicago.
The working group made up of new legislators is meeting with stakeholders on all sides of the gun control debate as the General Assembly considers Illinois’ first law to allow Illinoisans to carry concealed firearms.
“Gun violence has taken too many young lives in Illinois, and I was honored that these families chose to share their stories with us,” Simon said. “We need to work together to keep our young people safe from gun violence, while also protecting the rights of responsible gun owners.”
The working group will meet with members of Purpose Over Pain and Father Michael Pfleger, who will address the group on the personal impact of violence in urban communities and advocate for ways to prevent other parents from losing children to gun violence. Pam Bosley, co-founder of Purpose Over Pain, began the organization along with her husband after their 18-year-old son, Terrell Marquis Bosley, was shot and killed in April 2006 while helping a friend carry a drum set into a south side church.
The Firearms Working Group meeting at Saint Sabina comes on the same day President Obama visits Chicago to talk about the economy and to call for an end to the gun violence that has swept the city. Illinois is in the spotlight as state leaders grapple with the recent shooting death of Hadiya Pendleton and attempt to meet a June deadline to pass a law that permits people to carry guns in public spaces.
Currently Illinois is the only state in the nation with a law that bans carrying concealed firearms. The law was declared unconstitutional in December by a three-member panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and the state was given 180 days to pass regulations on where and when residents can carry firearms.
Over the next two months, the group will meet with stakeholders on all sides of the debate – from hunters to law enforcement to domestic violence prevention advocates – to promote dialogue and work toward consensus on pending legislation. Representatives from the National Rifle Association, Illinois State Rifle Association, Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence and Uhlich Children’s Advantage Network (UCAN) met with Simon’s Firearms Working Group earlier this month, and a meeting with law enforcement officials from across the state is set for later in February.