August 07, 2018

After Weekend of Record Violence, Duckworth and Rush Host Roundtable Discussion on Gun Violence in Chicago

Members Call for Passage of Blair Holt Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2018


[CHICAGO, IL] – After a weekend of record violence in Chicago, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-IL-01) today hosted a roundtable discussion on gun violence with community members and stakeholders at the Gary Comer Youth Center in the Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood. Prior to the roundtable, Duckworth and Rush called for the passage of the Blair Holt Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2018 alongside Blair’s father, Ronald Holt. This legislation would prohibit unlicensed gun-ownership and transferring or receiving firearms without a valid firearms license, as well as direct the Attorney General of the United States to establish and maintain a federal record of sale system. Photos of the press conference and round table are available here and here.

“This past weekend we saw 11 people lose their lives to senseless gun violence, with more than 73 people shot,” Duckworth said at the time. “Our own streets shouldn’t be more deadly than war zones. When will enough be enough?”

“I am sick and tired of the scenes of violence and grief that are constantly taking place over and over again in our schools and neighborhoods.  It is past time for action and commonsense solutions.  That is why I’m happy to see Senator Duckworth join me in reintroducing Blair’s Bill.  Because there is only one common thread across the gun violence epidemic in America — guns.  Blair’s murder, like those of so many young souls taken from us way before their time, shows us what type of destruction that a single person with a deadly firearm and a reckless disregard for human life can cause — and that is more than enough reason for us to enact commonsense reforms like those proposed in this bill,” said Rush.

Rush first introduced this legislation in 2007 and subsequently reintroduced it in 2009, 2013, 2015 and now in 2018 with Duckworth joining him to lead this effort in the Senate. Their bill is named after Blair Holt, a Chicago Julian High School honor student who was gunned down protecting his friend when a gunman opened fire on their ride home from school on a crowded public transit bus. Modeled in part after the Illinois Firearm Owners Identification Card (FOID) statute, the Blair Holt Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2018 would:

  • Protect the public against the unreasonable risk of injury and death associated with the unrecorded sale or transfer of qualifying firearms to unlicensed individuals.
  • Ensure that owners of qualifying firearms are knowledgeable in the safe use, handling, and storage of those firearms.
  • Restrict the availability of qualifying firearms to criminals, children, and other persons prohibited by federal law from receiving firearms.
  • Require universal background checks for all purchases or transfers of firearms.
  • Facilitate the tracing of qualifying firearms used in crime by federal and state law enforcement agencies.

“In addition to uniform gun control, resources and job opportunities, we must do a better job of providing treatment in communities that need trauma care—not just the kind of trauma that leaves scars, but the kind that stays with you for a lifetime,” Duckworth said.

Duckworth helped secure funding in the FY2018 omnibus bill that will allow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to conduct research into gun violence and its long-term effects.

“Far too many of our friends and loved ones have had their lives tragically cut short by senseless gun violence,” Duckworth said. “The need to take action that will protect our children and keep our communities safe from gun violence has never been more clear or more urgent. It’s time to act.”