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National Die-In Chicago

Student organizer shares her thoughts on the day's event

As an organizer for the Chicago Die-In, a sister demonstration to the National Die-In on the Capitol Lawn, I was so happy to see how many people actually participated — I did not expect so many students to come from all different parts of Chicago, and to see so many adults willing to lie on the ground in solidarity.

We wanted to make a statement about how prevalent and constant this issue of gun violence is not only in Chicago, but in the rest of the country as well. It was important to make our voices heard and to educate passersby. The time is up for our silence: We can no longer wait for someone else to stand up for victims of gun violence and for our lives. Events like these provide us with the perfect opportunity to channel the masses.

Sofia Dekhtyar (@Sofia4Change) is a 2018 graduate of Niles West High School (Skokie, Illinois). She will be attending Loyola University Chicago and hopes to study social work so she can continue focusing on issues such as gun violence. 

This is a story about the Community Safety and Peace and Gun Policy strategies of the Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities.

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Three bills that would make Illinois safer from gun violence

Source: The Chicago Sun-Times

As part of its "31 Bullets" series, the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board has highlighted three pieces of gun policy that are currently being legislated by the Illinois Assembly. They include:

  • An Illinois House hearing on a bipartisan bill that would allow family members and law enforcement officials to petition the courts to temporarily remove firearms from the homes of people who are a danger to themselves or others
  • A related bill in the Senate that would require that anyone who agrees to accept guns that have been removed from someone in distress sign an affidavit saying they would not return the guns without legal clearance
  • A bill to ban bump stocks and trigger cranks in Illinois has passed the Senate and is scheduled to be the subject of a committee hearing in the House

 

Read the full editorial, and watch the accompanying 31 Bullets campaign video.

This is a post related to the Gun Policy strategy of the Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities. 

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No, It's Not a Bike Rack

Source: Chicago Tribune

What if getting a gun was as simple and straightforward as renting a Divvy bike?

A short-term art installation at Daley Plaza, The Chicago Gun Share Program, teases this very notion. The Brady Campaign and Center to Prevent Gun Violence commissioned the piece, working with a local ad agency to bring forth this display — The Chicago Tribune reports that artist Nicholas Berg designed the exhibit to provoke people and get them talking about gun reform.

Berg says the steel installation took four months to create and "is baseball bat-proof" to withstand any form of protest. "I saw an opportunity to take advantage of the conversation without tragedy being tied to it," he said. 

This is a post related to the Gun Policy strategy of the Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities.

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31 Bullets

 Source: The Chicago Sun-Times

The Chicago Sun-Times has launched a campaign against gun violence called "31 Bullets". It takes its name from the number of bullets manufactured each year in America, 10 billion, divided by the total population. This results in 31 bullets sold for every child, woman, and man. 

In the coming months, the Sun-Times will be announcing 31 actions and ideas for reducing gun violence. The first of these actionable ideas has been posted: An encouragement to sign the Sandy Hook Promise petition to keep guns out of schools. 

This is a post related to the Gun Policy strategy of the Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities.

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Illinois House Passes Gun Legislation

After emotional pleas from Cardinal Blase Cupich and a chorus of gun safety advocates, the Illinois House passed legislation this week requiring gun dealers to be licensed by the state, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The House passed other measures to raise the minimum age to purchase an assault rifle to 21, to ban the sale of bump stocks and to require a 72-hour "cooling off" period on assault rifle sales. The gun dealer licensing bill was sent to Gov. Bruce Rauner's desk.

"This is one of the most important bills that we will vote on this session because this bill will put a huge dent in the ability of criminals, straw purchasers to get these guns and sell them to gang members who then bring them into our streets and kill people,' state Rep. Scott Drury, D-Highwood, said during a lengthy debate."

This is a post related to the Gun Policy strategy of the Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities.

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Where do Chicago’s crime guns come from?

Chicago police seized about 7,000 guns per year between 2013 and 2016 -- about half of which could be traced back to a point of purchase. About 25 percent of the guns found at crime scenes or used illegally were purchased at just 10 federally licensed retail gun shops in the Illinois and Indiana suburbs. That's according to a new report from the City, Chicago Police Department and University of Chicago Crime Lab, widely reported in the media, including this story in The Trace.

"In an unfortunate but persistent reality, certain retailers and jurisdictions disproportionately account for the guns trafficked into Chicago that sustain its illegal gun market and associated violent crime," the report said.

Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson used the gun trace report to call for changes in state law to regulate Illinois gun shops by requiring video surveillance of sales to deter straw purchasing and other measures. Independent research has shown that states that license and regulate gun dealers reduce in-state gun trafficking by 64 percent. 

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Introduction to the Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities

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Chicago's gun violence crisis requires all of us to make community safety a priority. Last year, following a decade of progress in reducing violence, Chicago suffered 4,368 shootings and 764 homicides, a level of violence unheard of since the 1990s. The trend continues in 2017. It must stop, and all of us have a role to play.

There is so much to do, but it is heartening that so many are stepping up to meet the challenge. Families, community and religious leaders, church groups, local organizations and others are working to make blocks and neighborhoods safer throughout the city. Organizations are reaching out to individuals at risk of violence with jobs and services. Reforms are underway at the Police Department. Adding to these urgent responses is the Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities, a coalition of more than 30 Chicago funders and foundations committed to aligning their funding to support proven and promising approaches to reducing violence.

Starting in 2016, informed by longstanding work by many organizations—large and small—to address root causes of gun violence, several foundations supported the operations of the Police Accountability Task Force and made direct investments in more than 120 neighborhood organizations in communities most affected by violence. As the Partnership has grown, members have invested in additional strategies.

Our hope is that by coming together to support work across Chicago, especially in communities at greatest risk, we will help strengthen programs and lay the foundation for a meaningful reduction in gun violence over the next two to three years. Members of the Partnership are working together to coordinate their individual investments in four key strategies:

  • Intervening with likely victims and perpetrators through street outreach, constructive policing interventions, cognitive behavioral therapy and jobs.
  • Increasing legitimacy for and effectiveness of the Chicago Police Department through improved training, better police-community relations, greater community voice in the design and operations of police accountability structures, and other reforms.
  • Strengthening gun laws to reduce the availability of illegal firearms.
  • Supporting 120 grassroots community-based organizations for events and projects in 2017 across 17 Chicago community areas to foster stronger community bonds, crowd out violence and promote constructive engagement with law enforcement.

To date, members have committed more than $30 million to support and coordinate work on these strategies. Along with commitments from many other groups, and ongoing investments from city, county, state and federal government agencies, the greater Chicago community is responding to the crisis of gun violence, and we can all help. Still, the magnitude and urgency of the challenge demand much more.

We know you are someone who cares deeply about Chicago's future. If you are an employer, you can hire young people at risk. If you are a community leader, you can help improve police-community relations. If you are a health care provider, you can support trauma-informed care to gun violence victims. If you are a funder, you can support any one of these efforts. Whatever you do, your voice matters when you speak up in support of policies that can make our neighborhoods safer.

In the months ahead, we will keep you informed about ongoing Partnership activities and Chicago's progress in reducing gun violence. We are working on a website that can serve as an information hub, and will let you know when it is live. In the meantime, if you have questions, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

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Everyone who cares deeply about Chicago’s future can play a role.

If you are an employer, you can hire young people at risk. If you are a community leader, you can help improve police-community relations. If you are a health care provider, you can support trauma-informed care to gun violence victims. If you are a funder, you can support any one of these efforts. Whatever you do, your voice matters when you speak up in support of policies that can make our neighborhoods safer. Reach out to learn more.

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