After latest incidents in B-N, Moms group continues push for action on gun violence
The McLean County chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense is advocating for survivors of gun violence after two more high-profile incidents in Bloomington.
Karen Irvin, a co-lead for McLean County Moms Demand Action, says a survivor isn't necessarily always a person who's been injured by a gun incident physically, but anybody whose life has been impacted by gun violence and trauma. That includes incidents such as the arrest of a Bloomington High School student who allegedly brought a loaded gun to school.
“So, every time there's an incident with a gun, there are survivors. There are people whose lives changed in that instance. Whether it's students that recognized that there was a gun, a loaded gun in their school, or the parents, or the teachers. Or the administrators and the staff. All of those people are impacted in some way by that incident,” said Irvin.
Also this month, Bloomington-Normal recorded its 7th homicide of the year — all but one involving guns.
Mom’s Demand Action is an organization that advocates gun safety through educational programs and campaigns.
“We know that many times, in situations with incidences with guns, that those minors have gotten those guns from either their family or friends that have allowed easy access to guns,” said Irvin.
Irvin says the group offers a program that is open to discussing with adults and school personnel what the implications are of children being able to access guns.
She says educational programs and action from legislators, are just some of the steps that can help prevent gun violence. She emphasizes that there is not just one component to school safety.
“My reaction was probably similar to many people, a lot of concern whenever there's a gun in a school situation. I wish I could say that it was an isolated incident and that wasn't something that we hear about often,” she said.
Meanwhile, Moms Demand Action commended the executive order signed by Gov. JB Pritzker recognizing gun violence as a public health crisis. In the executive order, Pritzker allocated money for communities to use for violence intervention programs aimed at young people.
“We really applaud his understanding that we need that funding for programs for high-risk youth and funding that will work on violence prevention services, youth development programs, and trauma recovery services for young people,” Irvin said.
BPD said it was seeking several charges against the BHS student, including Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon with no valid FOID, and Unlawful Use of a Weapon for possession in a school.