President Obama is bringing his gun control message to Chicago at a time when the city’s gun violence continues to escalate. Gun crime there claimed 42 deaths in January and 506 deaths last year, up from 435 people killed by gun violence the year before. While the numbers are staggering now, gun violence in the area has impacted local families for a long time.
In suburban Chicago in 1990, Nancy Bishop Langert and her husband Richard were expecting a baby. They were shot and killed by a 16-year-old who had a history of mental illness. Officials say the killer stole the gun used in the murders.
Jennifer Bishop-Jenkins, Nancy’s sister, has since become a vocal gun reform advocate.
“There is so much that we can do to end this needless, staggering bloodshed in this country,” Bishop-Jenkins said to NewsNation’s Tamron Hall.
Bishop-Jenkins joined hundreds of other families in D.C. this week to call for stronger gun control laws. On NewsNation, she compared a lack of mandatory background checks to going through security at the airport. “It’s like going to the airport and being offered a choice. Either you go through the security line and get searched or you can go through that line and not get searched at all. Either way, you’ll get into the airport. It’s ridiculous, the system we have right now.”
Nationwide, there is significant support for universal background checks in gun sales–92%, according to a recent poll from Quinnipiac University.
While mandatory background checks and other gun law proposals may or may not have saved the lives of well-known victims of firearms, Bishop-Jenkins stressed that passing legislation can still have major consequences.
“Laws do make a difference. For example, safe storage laws would have saved my sister’s life. Safe storage laws might have saved the lives of the children in Newtown,” she said, and later continued, “I met the mother of Christina Taylor-Green, who was the little girl killed in Tucson. She was killed with a 13th bullet. Don’t tell her that a high-capacity ammunition clip ban wouldn’t have been important. Of course it would have been.”