August 22, 2016

Gun Violence and Public Safety

I am committed to making Evanston the strongest, boldest city in Illinois when it comes to fighting gun-trafficking and gun-violence.

Because of the NRA’s lobbying success in bottling up substantive federal gun legislation in Washington, DC, it is even more important that municipalities committed to fighting gun violence be innovative, resourceful and results-driven.  I will be one of Evanston’s leading voices in this crucial fight and I look forward to working with every resident who is committed to stemming the tide of violence.

Mayor Tisdahl did an incredible job harnessing the energy, innovation and dedication of Evanston residents to address climate change and environmental sustainability in a way that has made our city an indisputable global leader on the issue. As Mayor, I will develop a similar citywide, collaborative process to tackle gun violence and public safety. I believe our city needs an ongoing, structured forum for people from every part of the community to express their views and ideas on crime issues.  As Mayor, it will be part of my job to then provide the executive leadership to turn these ideas in to action.

I am encouraged that the Supreme Court decided to let stand local bans on assault weapons and magazines, including our own ban in Evanston. As Mayor, I would work with local legislators – and do everything in my power – to pass desperately needed, common-sense legislation requiring state licensing of gun dealers. This measure is supported by 85% of Illinois voters and – just as critically – 77% of Illinois gun owners. An alarming 20% of crimes committed with guns in Illinois were sold by just 4 gun dealers: unscrupulous gun dealers should not have the right to put more weapons on our streets.

As Mayor, I would be open to all suggestions on improving Evanston’s gun buyback programs. We can learn from successes and failures of gun buyback programs in communities across the United States.  Feedback from Evanston residents who have participated in these programs – or been impacted by gun violence – will be used to make our policies the best they can be.

I would work closely with organizations such as the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence to see how Evanston can lead the state and the nation when it comes to proactive initiatives to fight gun violence.  In Evanston schools, I would promote the ICHV Student Voices Program  which is designed to get youth thinking, speaking and acting in response to gun violence through contests, curriculum and collaboration.

Finally, it is vital that Evanston continue to hire and train the most professional public safety workers we can.  Serving as the federal government’s chief liason to the NYPD and NYFD in the wake of the September 11th attacks, I gained even deeper admiration for the courage and skill of those who risk their lives to keep communities safe.  Our police officers, firefighters, and other first responders are our first line of defense against all types of violence and, as Mayor, I will ensure they have the resources they need to keep us safe.

Find out more about the other issues that I believe are important to Evanston’s future: