Durbin Speaks In Support Of President Biden's Gun Crime Prevention Strategy

Durbin also voices his support for ATF Director nominee David Chipman

WASHINGTON  U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today spoke on the Senate floor to discuss President Biden’s Gun Crime Prevention Strategy. Durbin shared his support for the President’s initiative and discussed the deadly toll gun violence has had in Chicago, Illinois. Durbin also called on the Senate to pass background check legislation to prevent guns from ending up in the hands of criminals and mentally unstable people and to confirm David Chipman to serve as the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).  

“Every Monday, sad as it is, the people of Chicago awaken to read the heartbreaking headlines about the toll gun violence has taken over the weekend. What was last weekend like in the City of Chicago? Fifty-two people were shot. Five fatally. Young children and babies don't escape this violence. More than 50 children under the age of 15 have been shot in Chicago this year,” Durbin said. “While a shooting can happen anywhere, the fact is gun violence has disproportionately claimed the lives of Black and Brown Americans living in communities where it is often easier to find a gun than a good-paying job.”

Durbin spoke about the importance of addressing the impact trauma has on families, particularly young children, as part of efforts to reduce gun violence. Earlier this year, Durbin introduced the RISE from Trauma Act, bipartisan legislation to increase support for children who have been exposed to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and trauma, including witnessing community violence, parental addiction, or abuse.

“Now think about a child who has witnessed a shooting or been the victim of a shooting.  That's going to be with him for a lifetime unless we do something. Childhood trauma makes it harder for kids to learn and form healthy relationships, and it can do serious harm to a child physically, mentally, and emotionally. Harm that can change their lives. But with the right care and support, kids and victims of gun violence can deal with trauma and rise above it. Across Illinois, I've seen programs in schools, hospitals, community centers, and churches that provide the nurturing environments and treatment our children [who] experience trauma need to thrive. If we want to end the epidemic of gun violence, we need to invest in community-based solutions that end the cycles of trauma,” Durbin continued.

Durbin also voiced his strong support for David Chipman, President Biden’s nominee to be Director of ATF. The ATF has been without a Senate-confirmed Director since 2015. Durbin said Chipman would be essential in helping the nation enforce gun laws already on the books and reduce gun crime.

“And David Chipman, a man with over 20 years of experience in the field, who worked for this law enforcement agency, risked his life in doing so, has been nominated by President Biden to head the agency and the Republicans can't stand the idea… he has the support of law enforcement and deserves the chance to lead this agency,” 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.

On Tuesday, Durbin, along with U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), sent a letter to Illinois Governor JB Pritzker urging him to consider a few key principles to help guide the State’s use of approximately $125 million in federal funds from the American Rescue Plan for violence prevention and youth employment programs.

In 2018, Durbin and ten of the major hospitals serving Chicago launched the Chicago HEAL Initiative, an innovative, collaborative effort where these health systems have teamed up on 16 public commitments to harness their economic footprint, clinical health expertise, and community engagement to address the root causes of violence and health inequity.