A state representative is urging Gov. J.B. Pritzker to work with the General Assembly on addressing the issue of gun violence.
Rep. Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur) demanded that Pritzker, a Democrat, do more beyond issuing an executive order declaring gun violence a public health crisis and setting up the state’s Office of Firearm Violence Prevention.
“So, Governor Pritzker, you really want to work on preventing violence? Let’s get together in the general assembly,” Caulkins said in a Facebook video he posted on Nov. 3. "Let’s do what the system is designed to do. I have (House Bills) 4190 and 4191 sitting on the books. Let’s call those bills. Let’s have that discussion.”
Pritzker’s declaration came just as the state’s largest city and the nation’s third largest, Chicago, is projected to have one of its deadliest years in two decades.
WTTW reported that the governor additionally announced a $250 million allocation toward addressing neighborhood violence, with the funding to be pumped into the Reimagine Public Safety plan over the next three years.
“We are united in our commitment to end gun violence in Illinois,” Pritzker said at the Breakthrough Urban Ministries FamilyPlex in Chicago, the PBS affiliate reported. “We will do what it takes, individually and collectively, to address the immediate violence on our streets and invest in fighting the underlying causes that cause too much despair, too much addiction, too little mental health treatment and too few opportunities.”
HB 4190, which was submitted by Caulkins, creates the Firearm Crime Charging and Sentencing Accountability and Transparency Act that requires an explanation from the state’s attorney as to why a charge is reduced in the event of a plea agreement in a criminal case involving illegal use or possession of a firearm.
The state’s attorney’s explanation must be made available to the public.
Another Caulkins-crafted measure, HB 4191, creates a fund of $100 million for grants to local governments to hire law enforcement officers, provide officers with mental health support, and help with retention, overtime pay, equipment and training.
According to WTTW, the Chicago Police Department reported that the city’s year-to-date homicide total is 678 as of Nov. 1, a 3% jump from the same time in 2020.
This year has been considered the third-deadliest year in Chicago since the start of the century.