As Illinois residents prepare for the Fourth of July weekend, gun violence has continued around the state amid coronavirus, protests of police killings, and the start of summer. On Friday, an employee opened fire at the Bunn-O-Matic warehouse near Springfield, killing three co-workers and himself. Over the weekend in Chicago, three children were shot and killed, and another was shot and wounded. The weekend also saw 61 other people who were shot — 15 fatally — in the city. Last weekend’s violence comes just one week after 102 people were reportedly shot in Chicago, including 14 fatally over Father’s Day weekend.
Gun violence is the leading cause of death for children and teens in the country. Children and teens who live in cities are at a significantly higher risk of gun homicides and assaults compared to their peers in rural areas. Black and brown children experience gun violence more than white children, in part due to deliberate policy decisions that created segregated neighborhoods and drove income inequality in Black and brown communities.
As a whole, gun violence takes a disproportionate toll on Black communities. Black people represent the majority of homicide and nonfatal shooting victims in the U.S. and are far more likely than white people to be victimized by and exposed to assaultive gun violence. In Illinois, Black people are 34 times as likely as white people to die by gun homicide. Research indicates that gun homicides and assaults are disproportionately concentrated in cities. And within the 50 cities with the highest murder rates — which includes Rockford and Chicago — gun violence reflects and intensifies this country’s long-standing racial inequities. Black Americans account for 81 percent of the victims, despite making up only 38 percent of the population in those cities.
Across the state, local gun violence intervention programs use evidence-informed approaches tailored to their communities to put a stop to violence and save lives. More information about gun violence in Illinois is available here, and more information about gun violence in cities is available here.