Senator Villivalam speaking at a press conference.CHICAGO – State Senators Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago), Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) and Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) were joined by U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and gun violence survivors this morning to advocate for the passage of critical gun safety legislation.

“We are here not only because of recent shootings, but because of what has been allowed to continue in our communities for decades,” Villivalam said. “We must take bold action now to keep our communities safe. Our legislation provides solutions that would have prevented recent mass tragedies in the state of Illinois.”

Two pieces of legislation have been filed to curb gun violence, House Bill 3245 and Senate Bill 568. Both would require background checks for all gun sales, collect fingerprints from FOID card applicants, would enable the Illinois State Police to reduce illegal gun purchases and the state to dedicate mental health funding for communities most affected by gun violence.

Twenty-five Illinois Senate Democrats have signed on to Villivalam’s Senate Bill 568. The legislation is also supported by over 100 stakeholder groups ranging from law enforcement to faith groups.

"We have heard every argument about the right to own a firearm. It is time that we assert our right as human beings to live free from gun violence," Collins said. "I support these reforms as a starting point on what will be a long road toward this goal. However long that road will be, it must lead toward an end to gun violence."

“It’s past time to enact legislation to prevent gun violence at the state and federal levels. We must act now,” Hunter said. “Gun violence is a public health issue that has run rampant for far too long in our communities. Our citizens have become immune to the sound of gunshots and to news that another life has been tragically lost. In 2015, I lost two nephews to senseless gun violence, so I understand how heartbreaking it can be - you never recover from such a loss.”

House Bill 3245 is assigned to the House Firearms and Firearm Safety Subcommittee. Senate Bill 568 is assigned to the Senate Executive Committee.