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Beginning April 1, a $25 tax will be imposed on all firearm purchases made within Cook County. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle pushed for this policy in order to help fund the Cook County Health and Hospitals System, where it costs roughly $52,000 to treat a gunshot victim at Stroger Hospital, the County’s flagship hospital.
“This new policy will help us provide more resources to our vital public health system, which on a daily basis has to treat the victims of gun violence,” Ms. Preckwinkle said. “Gunshot victims make up more than 30 percent of the patients our trauma center sees. I know this tax will not unilaterally solve the violence issue we face here in Chicago and other parts of Cook County, but it is without a doubt a necessary piece of the puzzle.”
In addition to the firearms tax, Cook County has pushed through other measures, including a fine of up to $2,000 for those who fail to report a lost or stolen gun and violence prevention funding to help take back our communities from those who wage warfare in on our streets. She also has advocated for legislation that would ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines; require registration of existing firearms and require background checks on all firearm sales at gun shows — commonly referred to as the “gun show loophole.”
“The Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence thanks President Preckwinkle and the County board for passing and implementing this important measure,” said Colleen Daly, Executive Director of The Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence. “This tax is an extremely important step toward making the gun industry accountable for the damage caused by their products.”
“The Cook County Board shining a light on this urgent issue reminds us that it takes a community to build peace in Chicago and Cook County,” said Father Brendan Curran, Pastor at St. Pius V Catholic Church and Elementary School. “Policies like the firearm tax address not only the economic cost of gun violence, but also the human toll that these guns take on a daily basis. I have buried too many of my parishioners to stand idly by while Washington D.C. and Springfield fail to act. I’m proud of President Preckwinkle and the County Board for taking meaningful steps to address the violence in our neighborhoods.”
Representatives from more than 20 organizations joined President Preckwinkle, including the Archdiocese of Chicago, Build, Inc., the Center for Crime Prevention and Control, Chicago Citizens for Change, CROSSwalk, Disciples for Christ Church, Enlace Chicago, Erie Neighborhood House, Gads Hill Center, Goodcity, Greater Auburn Gresham Development Corporation, Hope Presbyterian Church, Illinois Coalition Against Gun Violence, Inner-City Muslim Action Network, Interfaith Illinois, Inc., Kidz Korna, K.L.E.O. Center, Latinos Progresando, Mujeres Latinas en Acción, Southwest Organizing Project, St. Pius V Parish, St. Rita Church, TARGET Area Development Corporation, United Congress of Community and Religious Organizations and Universidad Popular.
The firearm tax is expected to generate $600,000 in FY 2013.