Group rallies for more gun control measures following recent mass shootings

  • The Kane and Kendall County chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense In America held a Wear Orange event Thursday night at the St. Charles Municipal Building.

    The Kane and Kendall County chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense In America held a Wear Orange event Thursday night at the St. Charles Municipal Building. Eric Schelkopf/Shaw Local News Network

 
 
Updated 6/3/2022 11:39 AM

In light of the recent school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that killed 19 children and two adults, those attending Thursday night's Wear Orange event at the St. Charles Municipal Building believe now is the time to take action.

"Wear Orange celebrates and honors all the victims and survivors of gun violence," said Steve McHugh of Geneva, co-leader of the Kane and Kendall County chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense In America.

 

Orange is the color that Hadiya Pendleton's friends wore in her honor after she was shot and killed in Chicago at the age of 15 -- just one week after performing in President Obama's second inaugural parade in January 2013. Orange is the color hunters wear in the woods to protect themselves and others.

Wear Orange originated on June 2, 2015 -- what would have been Hadiya's 18th birthday. Now, it is observed nationally on the first Friday in June and the following weekend each year.

Supporting the group in its efforts was St. Charles Mayor Lora Vitek.

"I have children of my own, and I know gun violence touches a community and every community way too much," she said. "I think everyone should get behind sensible gun safety and gun laws."

State Rep. Maura Hirschauer, D-Batavia, read the State of Illinois proclamation declaring Friday as National Gun Violence Awareness Day. She acknowledged that 2022 has been filled with gun violence.

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"We have been living through mass shooting after mass shooting, here in Illinois and also around the country," she said.

According to the proclamation, Illinois has 1,400 gun deaths every year, with a rate of 11 deaths per 100,000 people. That is the 36th highest rate of gun deaths in the United States, Hirschauer said.

The pandemic has made the problem of gun violence even worse.

"Illinois sold more guns in the pandemic than any other state," she said. "There are more guns in Illinois households than ever before. If you take anything away from this, I want you to talk about gun safety with your friends and neighbors. Talk about locking up those guns and keeping children safe from unsecured guns."

Following the event, McHugh said he supports proposals that President Joe Biden outlined in his address to the nation Thursday night, including reimposing the assault weapons ban and instituting national red flag laws.

"We do have red flag laws here in Illinois," he said. "It's a situation where if you are aware of somebody who might be a danger to themselves or others, you can temporarily have their firearm stored somewhere so that it's kept safe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

There is a court hearing. it is a good process for just trying to keep everyone safe."

McHugh said he is not surprised that people are demanding action following the recent mass shootings.

"People are aware and people are emotional and people want to protect their children," he said.

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