I know firsthand the terrible toll that crime and violence takes on our community and nation. In 1999, my youngest son Huey was shot and killed in Chicago. For my family and me, our lives were forever changed by this tragedy. I know we are not alone. While the Justice Department reports a significant decline in violent crime nationwide as well as in Chicago, the raw numbers are still too high. For far too many American families, gun violence is so prevalent in their communities that it has become a horrifying part of their everyday lives. None of these families should have to live in terror or in the resignation that their lives are in constant danger. No young person should have to fear for their life while walking to school or playing outside. This is wholly unacceptable. It is essential that we do everything we can to prevent crime and promote public safety.
This is what I am doing:
In response to the concerns of my constituents, I cosponsored the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2013 (H.R. 1565). This bill would provide improvements to how the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) treats mental health records. This bill would also establish a four-year implementation plan to ensure maximum coordination and automation of reporting of records or making records available to the NICS and would allow the submission of mental health records that would otherwise be protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”).
In March 2013, I introduced the Hadiya Pendleton and Nyasia Pryear-Yard Stop Illegal Trafficking in Firearms Act of 2013 (H.R. 955). This legislation is named after two wonderful young honors students whose promising lives were tragically cut short by gun violence. A key focus of the bill is targeted at firearms trafficking by individuals known as “straw purchasers,” who play key roles in most firearms trafficking operations. This bill, if passed, would make it a crime to purchase a gun on behalf of another person in order to reduce straw purchases by gun traffickers on behalf of third parties who cannot purchase firearms legally. It would also equip law enforcement with needed tools, including the authority to conduct electronic surveillance to investigate cases involving straw purchasers and firearms traffickers.
In June 2007, I introduced Blair Holt’s Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2007 (H.R. 2666). This bill, which has been reintroduced in every subsequent Congress, is named after Blair Holt, an honor student at Chicago’s Percy L. Julian High School who was gunned down while riding home from school on a crowded public transit bus. A teenager, seeking a rival gang member, boarded the bus and opened fire with a .40 caliber handgun. He missed his intended target, instead striking Blair and two other female classmates. Video footage of the assault shows that seconds before he was fatally hit in the abdomen, Blair had pushed the female friend next to him down into the seat and shielded her body with his own. In an instant, this brave young man, the son of a police officer and a firefighter, sacrificed his life to save another.
Locally, in response to the issue of gun violence in Chicago, I convened a meeting of the city’s leadership to discuss gun violence on Chicago’s Police Beat 624, the most violent beat in the city. I was accompanied by business and media executives, law enforcement, clergy, community leaders and elected officials.
In 2013, I cohosted a Congressional Black Caucus Emergency Summit on Urban Violence. This summit brought together policymakers, agency representatives, educators, community activists, clergy, parents, students and other concerned stakeholders to share their expertise and thoughts on the most effective strategies for dealing with youth violence.
Crime tears down communities. It breaks up families and diminishes the human spirit. It doesn’t have to be this way. In Congress, I look forward to using these bills as a foundation for the goals that we can achieve. Together we can strengthen our neighborhoods, protect our seniors, and empower our youth.
More on Public Safety
CHICAGO — U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) issued the following statement today, upon an announcement by Illinois Attorney General, Lisa Madigan, that the State of Illinois would sue the City of Chicago in federal court to secure a judicial order mandating reforms in the Chicago Police Department:
WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) is expected to send a formal letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking him to rescind his memorandum to Justice Department officials ordering a review of consent decrees with local law enforcement agencies, including Chicago. The move indicates citizens protections against police brutality, misconduct, civil rights violations and fatal shootings may be in jeopardy.
WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) introduced H.R. 1272 the “Cold Case Record Collections Act of 2017” to help bring justice and closure to unsolved cases stemming from the Civil Rights era.
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) wasted no time in inviting President Donald Trump to Chicago as the president made his way to the lectern for his first speech before a Joint Session of Congress on Tuesday night. The legislator said the nation’s chief executive agreed to visit the city which has been under a national spotlight after Trump threatened to “send in the feds” to curb violence.
CHICAGO — In an effort to bring more accountability to police departments across the country U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) has introduced H.R. 1213, the “Laquan McDonald Camera Act of 2017” which requires, as a condition on the receipt of federal funds, that law enforcement agencies o have in effect a policy regarding the use of body-worn and dashboard cameras.