Durbin On Gun Violence: Are We Going To Give Up, Or Stand Up?

Durbin shares story of one-year-old shot on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, Illinois, last week

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today spoke on the Senate floor about the public health crisis of gun violence in Illinois and across the nation. During his speech, Durbin called for the Senate to act on common sense, constitutional steps that can reduce gun violence in America, including passing legislation to close gaps in the firearm background check system. Durbin also shared the story of one-year old Kayden Swann, who is in critical condition after being shot, while riding in the backseat of a car, as an innocent victim of a road rage shooting last week on Lake Shore Drive.

“It's absolutely heartbreaking to think about little Kayden Swann, sitting in the back seat of a car on Lake Shore Drive, which I look out from my place in Chicago and see every day, and realize that he was shot in the head at the age of one and now is fighting to survive.  The question is what are we going to do with this challenge? With 40,000 gun violence deaths every year and more than 100 every day. Give up or stand up? I will tell you, I'm not going to give up. I'm going to do all I can to push common sense and constitutional reforms to bring gun violence to an end in America,” Durbin said.

Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here for TV Stations.

During his speech, Durbin also expressed his support for President Biden’s executive actions to address gun violence which were announced last week. The executive actions include:

  • Announcing David Chipman as the nominee to be the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).  Chipman, a 25-year veteran of ATF, is a well-qualified and experienced law enforcement professional who currently serves as a policy advisor at Giffords, the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. 
  • Directing the Department of Justice (DOJ) to issue a proposed rule to help stop the proliferation of “ghost guns” (guns that can be assembled from kits that do not have a serial number and are untraceable).
  • Directing DOJ to issue a proposed rule to make clear that when a device marketed as a stabilizing brace effectively converts a pistol into a short-barreled rifle, the device is subject to regulation under the National Firearms Act. This type of device was reportedly used by the shooter in last month’s mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado.
  • Directing DOJ to publish model extreme risk protection order legislation for states to consider adopting.  Currently 19 states, including Illinois, and D.C. have these laws, which allow law enforcement and family members to petition for a court order temporarily barring people in crisis from accessing firearms if they present a danger to themselves or others.
  • Directing five federal agencies (DOJ, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Department of Education, and the Department of Labor) to modify grant programs to focus more on investing in evidence-based community violence intervention programs.  President Biden’s American Jobs Plan proposal also includes $5 billion in funding over eight years to support community violence intervention programs.
  • Directing DOJ to issue an annual report on illicit firearms trafficking patterns and trends.