Statement of Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, on the Lake County Gun Buyback Event
In 2020, gun violence surpassed car accidents as the leading cause of death among U.S. children. The following year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in five childhood deaths were caused by firearms. We, in the Archdiocese of Chicago, know all too well how guns can ravage our communities, whether the daily violence plaguing city neighborhoods or the still-healing scars of last July’s mass shooting in Highland Park.
When some states continue to enact laws allowing people to purchase deadly weapons without so much as a permit, as was the case in the horrific slaughter of children and adults in Nashville, how can we help parents rest easily when they send their kids to school every morning? How do we reduce the number of guns in our homes and vehicles and eliminate the means of turning a mental health crisis into a mass casualty event, a moment of anger into lifetime of mourning? And how can we reduce the presence of firearms in our communities when some elected officials respond to mass shootings by replacing their American flag lapel pins with those featuring assault rifles?
Rather than allow ourselves to despair in the face of this mounting death toll, we must do as Pope Francis has asked and continue the work of eliminating gun violence by building a culture of peace.
As our city, suburbs, state and nation continue to suffer these cycles of trauma, many wonder what they can do to bring peace to our communities. I am proud that our parishes from the South Side to the North Side of Chicago have responded with long held events to reduce the number of firearms in our communities by providing an incentive to turn them in. These gun buyback events have taken thousands of guns off our city streets.
Today, I am heartened that this effort will be extended to Lake County. Most Blessed Trinity Parish in Waukegan is partnering with the Waukegan Police Department to co-sponsor a gun-buyback event on April 29. We expect it will be as successful as those we host in Chicago. But if it is, we need funds to buy back the guns. Bishop Jeffrey Grob and I will kick off this event by making donations from our personal resources – enough to buy back 100 guns.
We invite elected officials, faith communities, businesses and individuals to join us in supporting this important effort to reduce the scourge of gun violence and restore peace. Please direct your donations to the Waukegan Police Department at bit.ly/waukeganstrong.