Cook County to Dedicate $2 Million Towards Violence Prevention
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced today a compromise to the proposed firearm and ammunition tax and a $2 million dedicated to violence prevention, intervention and reduction programs that combat gun violence. The County will impose a $25 tax on the purchase of firearms, while eliminating the proposed tax on ammunition. The $2 million, which will be set aside in a specific account, will be overseen by an advisory committee and primarily dedicated to grants for non-profit organizations with proven experience in violence prevention or community outreach. At least $100,000 of the funding will be dedicated to education and enforcement efforts aimed at stemming “straw purchases” – firearms that are purchased legally but later used in criminal activity. “This money will provide needed resources to organizations on the front lines that deal with the impact of violence in their communities on a daily basis. It is critical that we do all we can to reduce violence, keep illegal guns off the street and deter criminal behavior,” President Preckwinkle said. “This proposal is the result of discussions and negotiations over the past several days and I’m proud of our efforts to build consensus and work together throughout the 2013 Budget process.” The advisory committee also will study existing gun court models and best practices with the intention of presenting a recommendation for implementation by July 1, 2013. President Preckwinkle stressed that a resolution was reached through cooperation and collaboration between her office and County Commissioners. She was joined at a news conference by Commissioner John Fritchey (D-12th) and Commissioner Edwin Reyes (D-7th). When I announced my proposal, I knew that reducing gun violence and the toll it takes on our residents is a goal President Preckwinkle and I passionately share, said Commissioner Fritchey (D-12th). I am grateful and appreciative that we were able to keep our focus on that goal throughout our discussions in order to arrive at this compromise. As the result of lengthy discussions and negotiations, and with the support of the other Commissioners, we can greatly improve our efforts to reduce gun crimes, put criminals in jail and protect families, all while simultaneously maintaining our commitment to provide efficient and effective County government. The seven-member advisory board will consist of President Preckwinkle or her designee, three members of the Board of Commissioners, an individual with law enforcement experience and two representatives from community organizations. The $25 tax on the purchase of firearms is expected to raise $600,000 in 2013.