Among community leaders, local media and national politicians, Liz Turnipseed’s words hit hardest.
During Gun Violence Survivors’ Week, Turnipseed was a guest speaker at a press conference Friday, Feb. 3, in Highland Park, where she retold the story of being shot at the Fourth of July parade in Highland Park.
“Being a survivor of gun violence, it never leaves you,” she said through tears before receiving a hug from Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering. Turnipseed later added that she believes it is important to speak out “to put a real face to what surviving a mass shooting looks like and how it just continues. It’s not like you go in and get patched up and go on with your life.”
The press conference was a chance to honor Gun Violence Survivors’ Week, celebrate the recent passage of Illinois’ Safer Communities Act, and reintroduce the national SECURE Firearm Storage Act.
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin first introduced the legislation in September of 2021. The act would require gun retailers to secure their firearms inventory in an effort to curb after-hours burglaries at gun shops.
According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, nearly 9,000 guns were stolen from federally licensed gun shops between 2020 and 2021
“It seems so obvious,” Durbin said at the press conference. “This bill would help prevent smash-and-grab burglaries form gun stores. … It’s just common sense.”
U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider, a Highland Park resident, was also on hand and is sharing the bill’s introduction with Durbin and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.).
Schneider said that so far the democratic lawmakers have not found Republican support for the legislation, but “we’re going to keep trying.”
State lawmakers Sen. Julie Morrison and Rep. Bob Morgan were also on hand and shared some words, as did Rotering, who started off the press conference and called the Firearm Storage Act “common-sense legislation that respects the second amendment and will also help keep guns out of the wrong hands.”
Rotering said that after the Fourth of July tragedy she and other local leaders made a promise to the Highland Park community and supporting the storage act aligns with that promise.
“We remember and honor the seven individuals who were taken too soon, and we keep the more than four dozen injured … and their families in our thoughts,” she said. “We promised them that their loss and their pain would be a catalyst to action. It is imperative that we deliver on our promise to act against the gun violence epidemic that plagues our nation.”
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