Durbin Hosts Gun Violence Listening Session with Chicago Area Law Enforcement Officials

Group discusses how Congress can help officers on the ground fight gun-related crime

[CHICAGO] – In preparation for the Congressional debate on gun violence expected to begin later this month, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today met with law enforcement leaders from the Chicago metropolitan area to discuss the strategies being used to reduce violent crime and prevent mass shootings in the city and surrounding communities and what Congress can do to help.


“The slayings of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School shocked the nation and launched a national conversation on gun violence,” Durbin said.  “The President has called for action, and when Vice President Biden’s task force issues its recommendations to Congress later this month, a serious debate on gun violence prevention will begin.  That’s an important conversation, and one that Washington has avoided for far too long.”


The Senate Judiciary Committee will play a leading role in the debate, holding a series of hearings on gun violence, including a Constitution Subcommittee hearing chaired by Durbin focusing on gun regulations and the Second Amendment.


“The debate about gun violence also needs to address the day-to-day violence on street corners and in schoolyards throughout the Chicago area.  In the weeks since the heart-wrenching tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, Chicago has seen at least 25 fatal shootings.  Those deaths, and the thousands of similar, gun-related deaths across the nation, need to be a part of the conversation,” Durbin said. 


“I salute the hard work of the men and women who put their lives on the line to keep our streets safe, and thank the leaders here today, who deal with gun violence on a daily basis, for their advice and input as Congress prepares to tackle this issue.  I intend to make sure the recommendations I hear today are made part of the debate in Washington.  I am optimistic that reasonable people on all sides of this issue can come together and agree on sensible gun laws in this country.”


Durbin was joined at the listening session by Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, Chicago Police Department 11th District Commander Eric Washington, Chicago Police Department 8th District Commander David McNaughton, Illinois State Police Director Hiram Grau, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, Calumet City Police Chief Edward Gilmore, Aurora Police Chief Gregory Thomas, and University of Chicago Crime Lab Director Jens Ludwig.  Each participant briefed the Senator on gun violence in their jurisdictions, the strategies they use to combat that violence, and their recommendations on what the federal government can do to help law enforcement fight violent crime.