Illinois senators join the movement against gun violence

By Kaitlin Englund
Medill Reports

Showing solidarity with students across the nation, approximately 100 Illinois senators, lobbyists and staff walked out at the Capitol in Springfield Wednesday morning to remember those who have died from gun violence in Chicago and throughout the United States.

“We are here today, not as politicians but as colleagues committed to working together with one another on behalf of students, teachers, police officers, parents and all members of our community who should be able to live or work or learn or worship or do anything else without the fear that their lives are in danger,” said Sen. Chris Nybo R-Elmhurst at the walkout.

The walkout, streamed live by the several sources, took place in front of the Capitol building at 10 a.m.

Sen. Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake who organized the demonstration, read some of the stories of the victims of the Parkland shooting while members of the Senate held up photos of those slain.

Afterwards, they held a moment of silence to remember Chicago Police Commander Paul Bauer, who was shot and killed while on duty last month.

Bush said she thought the demonstration had a great turnout and saw it as a chance to support students regardless of party affiliation.

“This was a chance for us to come together in a bipartisan way,” she said. “This is really about hearing the students, hearing the young people … We just want them to know that we are hearing their voices.”

Later Wednesday, the Senate approved bills that ban bump stocks and trigger cranks, extend the waiting period for assault weapons to 72 hours and increases the age of purchase for assault-style weapons.