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Chicago Urban League Opposes Gun Violence Senate Bill 1722 as Written

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                                               

May 30, 2017


Chelsea Whittington, Sr. External Affairs Manager
(773) 451-3524

Sabrina Greig, External Affairs Manager
(773) 451-3508
(917) 881-4138


                                             Chicago Urban League Opposes Gun Violence Senate Bill 1722 as Written

CHICAGO, IL. – May 30, 2017 – Chicago Urban League President and CEO Shari Runner today issued the following statement in support of the Illinois House Black Caucus and the proposed revision of SB 1722 on gun violence:

“The Chicago Urban League fully supports Representative Jones and the rest of the Illinois House Black Caucus in their desire to prevent SB 1722 from passing as it is currently written. Any legislation pertaining to gun violence in Illinois must recognize that scourge for what it truly is–a public health crisis rooted in poverty, systemic racism, and disinvestment in African American communities.

We have seen time and time again that punitive approaches to health problems fail, and often make matters worse. For example, mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes have decimated African American communities, leaving children without parents and branding young people with criminal records that severely hinder their opportunities for employment, housing, and education. Public health issues must be addressed with evidence, and research has consistently shown that increasing penalties for gun possession does nothing to curb gun violence.

SB 1722, which lacks any evidentiary support, will crowd more people into Illinois’s already over-packed prisons and cost tax payers millions. Rather than throwing money away by supporting unproven, ineffective legislation, Illinois must focus on building up the communities most affected by gun violence. Better funded schools, more accessible mental health and substance use treatment, and a deeper legislative commitment to violence prevention programs will start us down the path towards a safer, healthier, and more equitable Illinois. SB 1722 as it is currently written cannot accomplish those goals, and therefore must not pass.

Let’s be clear – that SB 1722 would pass, particularly when Illinois has been without a budget for 700 days – speaks volumes about the extent to which legislators are less concerned with tackling the root cause of gun violence than incarcerating their African American constituents.  Legislators, when are you going to pass a budget?”


To schedule an interview with Ms. Runner, please email

About the Chicago Urban League

Established in 1916, the Chicago Urban League works for economic, educational and social progress for African Americans and promotes strong sustainable communities through advocacy, collaboration and innovation. For more information, visit