A Public Health Approach to Gun Violence

Gun violence is a public health epidemic. It kills people, destroys families, and rips apart our communities. Our plan centers on recognizing violence as the health epidemic that it is, interrupting it, reducing the risk, and changing community norms so that everyone can feel safe in their own homes.

People resort to violence when they lose hope and are closed off from opportunity. Systemic racism and disinvestment has closed communities off from economic opportunity for decades and this has only been compounded by Bruce Rauner. Unemployment in the five Chicago communities most affected by gun violence is as high as 35%. Unemployment in other regions of the state most affected by gun violence exceeds the state average too. Bruce Rauner’s 736-day budget crisis decimated funding for violence prevention, after school programs, and mental health services, all of which contribute to more resilient communities.

We need to fight for all communities to be healthy and safe, and we need to partner with those already doing this work. As governor, I will work with all communities affected by gun violence. Together, we will lead efforts to treat gun violence as a public health epidemic, rebuild healthy communities, and increase firearm safety.

JB will treat gun violence as a public health epidemic:

  • Empower the Illinois Department of Public Health to expand their treatment of gun violence as a public health epidemic.
  • Fight for public health research on gun violence by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) at the federal level.
  • Focus on prevention and intervention by investing in community programs that interrupt violence and encourage non-violent conflict resolution.

JB will work to rebuild healthy communities:

  • Restore funding for community organizations and human services programs. These services are critical to prevent violence, disrupt violence through after school and mental health services, treat those most at risk, and change community norms.
  • Create economic opportunity in neighborhoods most affected by gun violence by increasing access to capital and training for small businesses and expanding education opportunities for youth.
  • Partner with localities to develop conflict resolution programs for our children.

JB will increase firearm safety:

  • Implement universal background checks for every gun sale in Illinois.
  • Make a lethal violence protection order available so that families can step in to protect loved ones from harming themselves and others.
  • Ban assault weapons, high capacity magazines, and bump stocks in Illinois to help prevent mass shootings.
  • Support and sign a gun dealer licensing bill to ensure firearms are sold in a safe and responsible manner.
  • Create and lead a consortium of regional states committed to reducing gun trafficking across our state border. This will also allow law enforcement agencies to share data to help track the flow of illegal guns.
  • Create a dedicated gun crime investigation unit within state police that coordinates with local police departments to focus on illegal gun trafficking and gun crime.
  • Secure federal funding to improve background check records reporting.
  • Create an inter-agency working group to evaluate the state’s progress in providing prohibiting records to the federal NICS background check system.
  • Ensure all domestic violence and drug abuse prohibiting records are pre-validated and uploaded to the appropriate background check systems in a timely manner.
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