SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – In response to the February mass shooting in Aurora, Illinois that resulted in the tragic loss of five lives and injuries that responding police officers and civilians are still recovering from, state Rep. Yehiel “Mark” Kalish, D-Chicago, is working to pass bipartisan comprehensive gun licensing reform supported by the law enforcement community.
“The weapon used in Aurora was legally purchased through existing loopholes that my bill aims to close,” said Kalish. “Even though the Illinois State Police were notified that the assailant purchased a gun, there was no plan of action in place for authorities to ensure that the illegally purchased weapon was turned into the authorities. This basic breakdown in procedure has resulted in several families being torn apart and we now owe it to the victims and their families to ensure that a tragedy like this never happens in Illinois again.”
Kalish is supporting the ‘Fix the FOID’Act, also known as Senate Bill 1966, which bolsters Illinois gun safety laws to prevent violent criminals from obtaining a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card. The changes include closing the gun show loophole which allows people to bypass background checks and requiring fingerprint submissions to get a FOID card. Kalish’s measure also streamlines the process of allowing law enforcement to seize the weapons of individuals whose FOID cards have been revoked.
Workplace homicides have grown rapidly in the last ten years, and almost 80% were committed with a gun, often more than one-at-a-time. The Aurora shooting is one of the deadliest mass shootings of 2019, but there have been over 100 other similar incidents this year.
“The safety of our families should be a priority for all legislators, no matter party affiliation,” said Kalish. “I worked with my colleagues across the aisle to ensure that a portion of new funds raised from FOID card applications are dedicated to school-based mental health centers. As a state we must understand that complex issues require complex solutions, with mental health education being one of them. Mental wellbeing will be a priority moving forward by providing the financial resources schools need to eliminate the stigma associated with mental health and serve our young people who might be struggling.”