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Honoring Illinois Gun Violence Victims by Wearing Orange

People across Illinois are taking part in National Gun Violence Awareness Day by wearing orange to honor those who've died from gun violence. (Wear Orange)
People across Illinois are taking part in National Gun Violence Awareness Day by wearing orange to honor those who've died from gun violence. (Wear Orange)
June 2, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – With gun related violence on the rise in parts of Illinois, local gun control advocates are wearing orange today to bring awareness to the issue.

It's National Gun Violence Awareness Day, and several groups, including Everytown for Gun Safety, are taking a cue from the hunters who wear orange to protect themselves from other sportsmen.

Lauren Quinn, a local leader with the Central Illinois Moms Demand Action, argues the state's gun violence problem is made worse by illegal weapons trafficked from Indiana and other neighboring states.

"The weak gun laws in surrounding states contribute something like 60 percent of the guns that are used in crimes in Chicago,” she points out. “We need to strengthen those borders to keep those illegal guns from coming in."

Gun control groups are holding Wear Orange events in several cities today, including Chicago and Champaign-Urbana.

The National Rifle Association, however, has called the Wear Orange event a "thinly veiled anti-gun stunt."

The idea was started in 2013 by a group of South Side Chicago teens that wanted to honor their friend Hadiya Pendleton. The 15-year-old girl was shot and killed just days after performing for President Barack Obama at the White House.

Quinn says state lawmakers could honor additional victims of gun violence by passing bills, such as the Gun Dealer Licensing Act.

"Gun dealers are one of the only kinds of businesses in Illinois that are not required to be licensed,” she states. “But this would ensure that they do go through a licensing process.

“It basically gives law enforcement a little bit more oversight as far as how those businesses are operated."

Even though the current legislative session is over, that bill is scheduled to come up before state lawmakers at the end of the month.

Meanwhile, according to a Chicago Tribune analysis, guns have killed about 250 people in Chicago alone so far this year.

Brandon Campbell, Public News Service - IL