Kane County Board chair, law enforcement leaders back stronger gun laws in proclamation
Citing 34 gun deaths in 2019 and 31 last year, Kane County Board Chair Corinne Pierog on Tuesday retroactively declared the first Friday in June as National Gun Violence Awareness Day.
The proclamation came at the request of the Kane-Kendall Moms Demand Action group, a local chapter of a national interest organization that advocates for stronger gun laws, such as enhanced background checks.
The mass shooting at the Henry Pratt facility in Aurora contributed to the 2019 gun deaths total. The 31 gun deaths in 2020 are particularly troubling, Pierog said, as it marked the second-highest total in the county in recent history and came with no mass shooting to inflate the number.
"There is definitely an increased spike in gun violence here in Kane County," Pierog said. Kane County "observes, respects and supports" Second Amendment rights, she said, but added that good gun safety is something everyone can support.
Steve McHugh, co-lead of the Moms Demand Action chapter, said the 320 gun deaths and suicides that happen every day nationwide are overshadowed by high-profile mass shooting events but they are no less deadly. He pointed to the death last week of the 2-year-old Joliet boy, who found his dad's loaded gun and accidentally shot himself, as an example of preventable gun deaths.
McHugh said the Geneva and St. Charles school districts were the first in Illinois to pass a resolution and take action to send information to the parents of students about safe gun storage. He also pointed to legislation in the Illinois House that would require fingerprinting to own a gun. The bill is designed to address the loophole that allowed the Henry Pratt shooter to obtain a gun despite a felony conviction in another state.
"Support and respect for the Second Amendment rights of law abiding citizens goes hand in hand with keeping guns away from people with precarious histories," read the county's proclamation.
McHugh's group promoted a day of wearing orange last week to draw attention to gun deaths.
"Wearing orange doesn't do a lot more than thoughts and prayers unless we take action," McHugh said.
The county's proclamation specifically listed Pierog, state's attorney Jamie Mosser and Sheriff Ron Hain as the people declaring the National Gun Violence Awareness Day. All three are Democrats. It reads as if the county board passed the proclamation, but the county board did not take a vote or offer any comments in support or opposition.