For several months, we have been compiling scorecards for state legislatures across the country. While we believe that these ratings are useful on their own (especially because no pro-gun control ratings are publicly available to counter the grades the NRA assigns to legislators) they have also been a means to an end. Today, that ultimate goal comes to fruition as we are publishing our first official endorsement informed by the results of our system.
The recipient of that endorsement is State Senator and Illinois Gubernatorial candidate Daniel Biss.
As a member of the Illinois State Senate in 2017, Biss earned a perfect 100% score from LEAP Forward. He is a sponsor of SB 1291, the Lethal Violence Order of Protection Act, an incredibly important piece of legislation in light of the now-obvious link between mental health and gun violence. The bill synopsis states that the legislation
[p]rovides that a petitioner may request an emergency lethal violence order of protection by filing an affidavit or verified pleading alleging that the respondent poses an immediate and present danger of causing personal injury to himself, herself, or another by having in his or her custody or control, owning, purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm.
Biss also sponsored the Gun Dealer Licensing Act, which passed out of the Illinois Senate in April, and his campaign materials and speeches show a candidate that understands why it's time not only to address the problem of mass shootings in America, but also everyday gun violence that plagues the country generally and his state in particular. Biss' campaign website acknowledges that the burdens of gun violence "do not fall equally" and that "[b]lack and brown people in underinvested communities bear the brunt of our backwards gun policies as their communities are scenes of horrific violence on an almost daily basis."
Biss' running mate, Litesa Wallace, is another 100% rated legislator. During the 2017 cycle in the Illinois State House, she sponsored the sister legislation to SB 1291 as well as five other pieces of pro-gun control legislation that we graded, including omnibus gun control bill HB 4107, and HB 4112, which would ban bump stocks and trigger cranks. Like Biss, she has received an F grade from the National Rifle Association.
The Democratic primary for Governor is a crowded field with a number of good candidates, all preferable to Illinois' current Republican governor. We understand that a number of other pro-gun control organizations generally do not take sides in primaries. But Biss and Wallace have not only been forceful proponents of gun regulation with their words, but they have the legislative record to back them up. We will be updating our blog with news on their campaign and creating a profile page with a newsfeed and links to help keep readers up to date.