Gun Violence

Gun violence remains a critical issue for youth, families, and communities—continuing to claim too many lives in Chicago and across Illinois. However, research shows this epidemic is both treatable and preventable. By choosing comprehensive and proven approaches, policymakers can protect and promote the safety and wellbeing of Illinoisans from every zip code.

Historically, however, spikes in violence have been met with punitive measures and crime suppression tactics that have no evidence of effectiveness. These approaches have devastating and ultimately exacerbating effects on young people, their families, and their neighborhoods. As decades of research have shown, strategies such as mandatory minimums and firearm enhancements disproportionately affect people of color and low-income people, leaving the most vulnerable citizens to experience the harshest consequences of both violence and response.

The CFJC works to uncover and identify ways to address the root causes of gun violence. In collaboration with national and local partners, we have conducted years of data-driven research explaining the history of gun laws in Illinois and across the nation. Drawing upon this research, we work to advance proactive and holistic approaches to public safety. Our aim is to help policymakers, legislators, and the public separate fact from fiction and choose enduring strategies that contribute to stronger, healthier, more stable communities.

Key to this effort is recognizing the particular characteristics of young people that impact their involvement with and vulnerability to gun violence. Their capacity for self-control and their agency to shape the conditions of their surroundings are more limited than adults. By appropriately factoring in the role of youthfulness in gun violence, policymakers can help keep young people and their communities safe, and can ensure youth have the opportunity to enter adulthood equipped to thrive.

For a deeper look into our research, below please find a sampling of key documents, reports, and testimony: