Policy Watch

Firearms fix

Saving lives by stemming gun violence is the goal of a new law in Illinois that will strengthen background checks, shore up the state’s outdated gun-license system, and invest in mental health services for impacted communities.

The multi-pronged measure – passed with bipartisan support by the General Assembly -- was spurred by a fatal 2019 mass shooting in Aurora that revealed failings in the state’s Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card system. Five people were killed and six wounded by a warehouse worker whose firearms should have been taken away after his FOID card was revoked.

The law also is intended to solve months-long delays in the ability of the Illinois State Police to process FOID applications and renewals, made worse by a surge in gun-buying through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The law will:

  • Expand background checks to all gun sales, including all private, person-to-person sales – which Gov. J.B. Pritzker said would close “a deadly loophole” when he signed the measure into law.
  • Create a stolen-gun database
  • Require the Illinois State Police to monitor state and federal databases for prohibited gun buyers
  • Reinforce and streamline the FOID system by encouraging gun buyers to submit fingerprints through reduced application fees and automatic renewals, among other updates

The law was rooted in evidence-based recommendations for reducing gun violence in Illinois by the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Prevention and Policy. The recommendations were included in a report commissioned by the Foundation.

The legislation also directs the ISP to seek federal funds to assist with improvements to the FOID process, one of several recommendations in an op-ed column by Tim Daly, director of the Foundation’s Gun Violence Prevention & Justice Reform program.

About The Joyce Foundation

Joyce is a nonpartisan, private foundation that invests in evidence-informed public policies and strategies to advance racial equity and economic mobility for the next generation in the Great Lakes region.

Related Content

News

Poll Gauges Public Attitudes toward Political Violence in the United States

The Joyce Foundation, Trusted Elections Fund, and The Klarman Family Foundation initiated a public opinion research project exploring the public’s view of, and reaction to, political violence and extremism.

Research Report

Toward a Fair and Just Response to Gun Violence: Recommendations to Advance Policy, Practice and Research

Report with recommendations to advance policy, practice and research by a group of experts convened by the Joyce Foundation beginning in 2019 under the banner “Toward a Fair and Just Response to Gun Violence.”

News

Landmark Bipartisan Safer Communities Act to reduce gun violence

The Joyce Foundation applauds the bipartisan effort to pass the Safer Communities Act, which brings us closer to the safer America we all seek and deserve. 

News

The Foundation's statement on the Bruen case ruling

The Supreme Court’s ruling today in the Bruen case will make communities across America less safe. A large and growing body of evidence demonstrates that the mere presence of a firearm increases the risk of injury and death.

News

Checking the facts on “red flag laws”

The latest research into “red flag laws” and other gun safety measures was highlighted at a recent webinar series for journalists produced by the Poynter Institute for Media Studies and its PolitiFact fact-checking arm.

Webinar

Examining the Rise of Armed Extremists and Militias in Michigan

Recent political violence issues have been on the rise in the U.S. During this webinar, panelists discussed these trends, their implications on democratic institutions specifically in Michigan, and what policy makers might be poised to do about it.

Grantee Spotlight

Chicago violence prevention leader joins Justice Department as senior adviser

READI Chicago Director Eddie Bocanegra Joins Justice Department as Senior Adviser

Grantee
Heartland Alliance

In The Media

What Makes Funder Collaboratives Work? The Fund for a Safer Future Looks Back on Its First Decade

By Tim Daly and Scott Moyer discuss the impact and success of the Fund for Safer Future that was established in 2011.

Source
Inside Philanthropy