Handgun Related Homicides Escalate in Illinois Despite Gun Control Efforts

In 2016, a total of 961 homicide incidents were reported in Illinois. The most commonly used weapon to commit these homicides was a handgun which was reported being used 849 times.

The graphic displays the different weapons used in commission of homicides in Illinois in 2016. Note: More than one weapon can be used to commit a homicide. https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/IakDs/4/

Despite both the National Firearms Act and Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act being applicable to gun owners in Illinois – which impose stricter gun control, sales, and background checks – individuals still find ways to acquire firearms illegally. These firearms, specifically handguns, were the most commonly used weapon to commit homicides in Illinois in 2016. The Illinois State Police Supplemental Homicide Reporting data reveals how different types of firearms, like shotguns and rifles, were also used in the commission of homicides in Illinois: the data are reported for each victim and offender, and multiple weapons could have been used to commit a homicide. An article published by The Washington Post, mentions how President Donald Trump stated Chicago has the strongest gun control laws in the United States, though, the city has long been plagued with gun induced homicides and violence. The main question, however, is where do people acquire firearms with the strict gun laws imposed in Illinois? 

According to WBEZ 91.5 Chicago and The Chicago Tribune, a majority of guns collected and used in acts of violence in Chicago were illegally purchased in Indiana. Less stringent gun legislation in certain states allows people to purchase firearms quickly and then transport them to different locations. The graphic above illustrates how most of the homicides in Illinois in 2016 were due to firearms. To prevent the increase in gun related homicides in Illinois it may be necessary to call for a nationwide legislation. If stricter gun control laws are enacted throughout the United States, Illinois homicide levels related to firearms may decrease due to people not being able to purchase their weapons in bordering states like Indiana. 


Access To Education Through MAP Grants Within Illinois

Pat Quinn photo
Gov. Pat Quinn talks about MAP grants at DePaul University. (Photo by Josclynn Brandon)

Editor’s note: This story was originally posted on Dec. 12, 2012 and is housed at RedLineProject.org

By Bob Smith

Gov. Pat Quinn visited DePaul University’s Loop campus on Wednesday to discuss how pension reform is harming the Monetary Award Program (MAP) college scholarships and access to higher education in Illinois.

“This is so important to our state, not only in the past, but certainly now and in the future,” Quinn said. “We want everyone to have the opportunity to go to college that has the ability to go to college.”

MAP grants are need-based college scholarships that allow merit students who are in need across the state and do not need to be repaid by the student. Quinn said that due to cutbacks and having to pay more money in the pension amount, almost 18,000 students lost their MAP grant scholarships this year.

“We do not want anyone denied that opportunity because of finances,” Quinn said. “We can’t afford to lose all the talent that exists, all the ability that exists for higher education to help our economy and to help all of us, because there are financial challenges that deny someone the opportunity to go to community college or a four-year university — public and private — in our state.”

Quinn was joined by several Illinois college students, including DePaul Student Government Association Vice President Casey Clemmons.

“Every year over 5,000 DePaul students receive MAP grants, and just like the students who have already spoken here today, all of these DePaul students rely on this funding in order to continue their college careers,” Clemmons said.

“Because the number of Illinois students eligible to receive MAP is currently increasing, existing funding does not allow the state to assist all the eligible students. As a result, without action by the Illinois state leadership, more DePaul students than ever will see their MAP funding disappear this year and more DePaul students than ever will be forced to give up their education due to finances.”

More than 150,000 students nationally receive MAP grants each year.

Clemmons told the audience that on Tuesday, DePaul’s SGA unanimously passed a resolution calling on the Illinois general assembly and the governor to ensure the longevity of the MAP program.  He read the resolution aloud and presented a copy to Quinn. 

Ken Thomas, a University of Illinois Board of Trustees student member, MAP recipient and University of Illinois Chicago student, told how he wouldn’t be where he is today if it wasn’t for the MAP grant.

“My mom, when I was in high school, had to work two jobs just to keep food on the table,” Thomas said, “and if we didn’t have [the] MAP program like we do today, I know that I wouldn’t be where I am today; graduating with a degree, hoping to be a productive member of society.” 

Having a productive and functioning society and economy is what Quinn says it’s all about.

“Jobs follow brainpower,” he said. “We want to make sure we have smart people in Illinois. Well skilled, well-educated students coming out of college with graduate degrees and diplomas so they can create jobs, create new businesses,” he said. “Our goal in Illinois is to have at least 60 percent of the adults in our state with a college degree or college associate degree or career certificate by the year 2025. In order to achieve we have to make sure we have a good scholarship program.”

Clemmons said that in order for that to happen, state legislatures need to reflect upon the question, “What must be done?” and do what’s required.