Over the last few days, our nation has once again endured a wave of tragic and senseless shootings in communities across America — from Philadelphia to Fort Worth, Baltimore to Lansing, Wichita to Chicago. Today, Jill and I grieve for those who have lost their lives and, as our nation celebrates Independence Day, we pray for the day when our communities will be free from gun violence.
Today also marks one year since a shooter armed with an AR-15-style weapon fired upon a crowd of Americans gathered for an Independence Day parade in Highland Park, Illinois. In mere moments, this day of patriotic pride became a scene of pain and tragedy.
In the year since, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering, legislative leaders, and numerous advocates, and gun violence survivors have fought tirelessly to turn the pain of Highland Park and other acts of gun violence into meaningful action on behalf of all Illinoisans. This past January, they succeeded in banning assault weapons – like the one used in Highland Park – as well as high-capacity magazines across Illinois.
Their achievement will save lives. But it will not erase their grief. It will not bring back the seven Americans killed in Highland Park or heal the injuries and trauma that scores of others will continue to carry. And as we have seen over the last few days, much more must be done in Illinois and across America to address the epidemic of gun violence that is tearing our communities apart.
It is within our power to once again ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, to require safe storage of guns, to end gun manufacturers’ immunity from liability, and to enact universal background checks. I urge other states to follow Illinois’ lead, and continue to call upon Republican lawmakers in Congress to come to the table on meaningful, commonsense reforms that the American people support.