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

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

[ROCKFORD] – 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 Rockford 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.


“I come from a family of sportsmen and hunters, so I know the importance of guns to many level-headed, law-abiding families,” Durbin said.  “At the same time, yesterday in Chicago police officials showed me a semiautomatic ‘Uzi’ with an extended ammunition clip that was confiscated after it was used to shoot at officers.  There’s no place for that kind of weapon in this country.  I plan to seek input from all the viewpoints on this issue and Congress begins discussing our nation’s stance on guns and gun violence.”


“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 near-daily basis, for their advice and input as Congress begins discussing guns and gun violence.  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 Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey, Rockford Police Chief Chet Epperson, Loves Park Police Chief Rodney Scott and Illinois State Police Region II Commander Jeffrey Patterson.  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.


Today’s was the second in a series of listening sessions Durbin will host across the state concerning gun-related issues.  Yesterday the Senator met with law enforcement officials from Chicago and nearby communities.