In the wake of the Highland Park shooting on July 4, 2022, the Lake County Board began holding discussions addressing the multi-faceted issues surrounding gun violence during the last four Committee of the Whole meetings. A variety of subject matter experts attended and spoke at the meetings each month. The following are the topics the Board addressed in those meetings.
August 5, 2022: Impact of Gun Violence on Lake County
North Chicago Mayor Leon Rockingham and Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering addressed gun violence in Lake County, including the impact following the Highland Park shooting. Chris Patterson, Assistant Secretary of Illinois Department of Human Services, Office of Firearm Violence Prevention, discussed re-imagining public safety. Sara Knizhnik, Chair of the Gun Violence Prevention Initiative, explained the Gun Violence Prevention Initiative.
Watch the discussion
September 9, 2022: Impact of Gun Violence on Public Health
Shane Selig, a City of Highland Park Certified Emergency Response Team member who was present at the Highland Park shooting on July 4, 2022, explained the profound and far-reaching impact on the community. Lake County Health Department Executive Director Mark Pfister spoke about gun violence as a public health system issue, and State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart gave an update on the Gun Violence Prevention Initiative.
October 7, 2022: Impact of Gun Violence and Access To Guns
Sergeant Jacob Novak and Deputy Sheriff Sergeant Matt Harmon with the Lake County Sheriff's Office Special Investigation Group shared their work to address drug trafficking, money laundering and criminal organizations, the ties to gun violence and their effort to take firearms off the street. Dr. Michael Karner, Regional Superintendent of Schools gave an overview of the Regional Safe School in Lake County. Sam Johnson, Director of Behavioral Health with the Lake County Health Department explained their suicide prevention programs. Mark Pfister, executive director of the Lake County Health Department, gave an overview of the Child Safety Lock Act.
March 10, 2023: Impact of Gun Violence and Safe Storage
Kristin and Mike Song from the Ethan Miller Song Foundation spoke on safe gun storage, including their efforts to enact new legislation which requires all firearms, loaded and unloaded, to be safely stored in homes occupied by minors under 18. County Board Member Sara Knizhnik shared practical information about gun storage. Mark Pfister, executive director of the Lake County Health Department, spoke about secure storage of a firearm and the connection to firearm hospitalizations, whether a result of violent or accidental use and instance of suicide. Deputy Chris Covelli of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office spoke about gun violence and secure storage of a firearm from the perspective of law enforcement.
The public can learn about all topics discussed by the Lake County Board by attending or watching the Board and standing committee meetings. The public may attend meetings in person at the Lake County Administrative Tower, 18 N. County St., Waukegan or remotely using the registration link on the front page of each meeting’s agenda. All Board and standing committee meetings are also recorded and can be viewed by visiting the County website.
Watch County Board meetings, including standing committee meetings
Lake County Board Unanimously Supports Ethan’s Law and Safe Storage of Firearms
During the April Lake County Board meeting, the board unanimously approved a resolution that supports Ethan’s Law and the safe storage of firearms. The legislation is named in honor of Ethan Song, a 15-year-old teen from Guilford, Connecticut who was tragically killed in 2018 by an unsecured gun in a neighbor’s home. The firearm had been stored in Tupperware in a box in a closet alongside the ammunition and the keys to the gun lock. Ethan's parents, Mike and Kristin Song are now working on a national bill and education program that will save lives and protect kids.
If adopted into law, gun owners would be required to secure their firearms in a “secure gun storage or safety device” or “in a location that a reasonable person would believe to be secure” if a minor is likely to gain access to the firearm without permission, or if a resident of the dwelling cannot legally possess a firearm under existing law.
Introduced to the Illinois Senate as Senate Bill 1521, Lake County supports legislation that would mandate safe firearm storage through the County’s 2023 Legislative Agenda.