Next steps for Illinois in fighting gun violence

 
Posted10/11/2021 1:00 AM

On a frigid February afternoon in 2019, a man in Aurora returned to his former place of employment and murdered five of his former co-workers, injuring six more civilians during a shootout that ultimately resulted in his death.

Our state legislature responded quickly, passing a law (House Bill 562) to strengthen law enforcement's ability to retrieve guns from those with suspended or revoked Firearm Owners Identification cards, which according to State Police Chief Brendan Kelly could have potentially prevented the Aurora shooting.

 

This spring, the Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 19, which would ban Texas state agencies from giving contracts to companies that "discriminate against the firearm or ammunition industries."

The language is meant to deter corporations from choosing to be partners in the effort to stem gun violence. Companies like Dick's Sporting Goods and Walmart, which have stopped selling assault weapons, or Citi and Bank of America, which have chosen not to do business with companies that sell or manufacture military-grade weapons.

It isn't always easy for these companies to stand up and be part of the solution. We cannot let them be treated as if they are the problem.

Thankfully, other states are choosing the opposite approach, because they recognize that everyone must come together to prevent gun violence. After the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012, Connecticut became the first state in the country to divest from gun manufacturer securities. The state went further, incentivizing companies to stand against gun violence by asking potential vendors to describe their gun policies when submitting proposals to the state.

Now Illinois needs to consider following Connecticut's lead and partner with those in the private sector to work together in order to end this national tragedy.

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Not another Aurora.

Michael Navarrete

Calumet City Alderman

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