Almost two years after the state declared gun violence a public health emergency, the head of the Illinois Department of Public Health showed support for the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision Friday to uphold the state’s assault weapons ban.
“Easy access to assault-style weapons has created a clear and present danger for Illinoisans,” IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra said in a press release. “Gun violence is a significant public health threat in Illinois, and the public deserves the right to be free from the threat of mass shootings.”
The statement by Vohra, who was appointed to lead the department last year by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, echoes the administration’s efforts to treat gun violence as a public health issue.
Pritzker declared gun violence a public health crisis in 2021 and committed $250 million to “directly reduce and interrupt violence in our neighborhoods.”
The secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services, Grace B. Hou, also expressed support for the state Supreme Court decision and said the department is working to end cycles of violence in communities that have been disproportionately impacted for generations.
“The Illinois Supreme Court made the right decision today to uphold an act meant to protect these communities from further harm,” Hou said in a press release Friday.
As of this current fiscal year, the IDHS has awarded up to $147 million to a variety of providers to expand violence prevention efforts.
The Illinois Supreme Court rejected the challenge to the state’s ban on assault weapons in a 4-3 decision. The law, which will stay in effect, bans the sale of hundreds of different types of assault weapons in the state.