May 27, 2022

Durbin Discusses Toll of Gun Violence on Children with Chicago-area Youths and Doctors

Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on June 15 that will focus on gun violence and kids

CHICAGO – Following the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, that claimed the lives of 19 students and two teachers, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today met with Chicago-area youth and doctors from Ann & Robert H. Lurie’s Children Hospital to discuss the need to act to protect our children from gun violence and the growing toll of trauma that gun violence is having on a generation of students and young adults.  Durbin will also hold a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on June 15 that will focus on gun violence and kids.  In 2020, gunfire became the leading cause of death among American children and teens, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. 

“I cannot imagine the pain and shock those families in Texas are in.  I know parents across America hugged their children extra tight this week.  Unfortunately, we know this story too well here in Chicago, where gunfire has become commonplace in too many neighborhoods,” said Durbin.  “Democrats have put out the offer to Republicans to work in good faith on background check and extreme risk protection order legislation.  Those negotiations are underway.  If Uvalde is not a tipping point for my Republican colleagues, I don’t know what is.”

Durbin continued, “An entire generation of children is being traumatized by our nation’s gun violence epidemic.  Next month, as Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I will be holding a hearing that will focus specifically on the impact of the gun violence epidemic on kids.  I will continue doing everything I can in Washington and here in Illinois to keep our communities and our kids safe.”

For years, Durbin has partnered with Lurie Children’s Hospital to bring their medical expertise into the community and schools to help children cope with traumatic experiences.  With federal funding, Lurie Children’s and Chicago Public Schools are now training behavioral health teams in every school. 

Earlier this week, Durbin announced $7 million in federal funding available for trauma support services in schools, part of a new grant program Durbin authored in 2018.  Durbin is also working to pass the RISE from Trauma Act, bipartisan legislation with Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), to increase trauma-informed care in our communities. 

For the past three years, Durbin has also convened the Chicago HEAL Initiative.  Launched in 2018 by Durbin and 10 of the largest hospitals serving Chicago, the HEAL Initiative is a collaboration to address the root causes of gun violence through economic, health, and community projects in 18 of Chicago’s neighborhoods with the highest rates of violence, poverty, and inequality.

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