Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence

The Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence (ICHV) is the oldest and largest statewide organization in the U.S. working to prevent the devastation caused by firearms. Founded in 1975 by four suburban Chicago women concerned about the tragic consequences of handgun proliferation and availability, ICHV works on a variety of fronts to educate, raise public awareness, and build coalitions to enact change in laws and behavior. For 38 years, ICHV has been a leader among state gun violence prevention groups.

Nearly 1,000 Illinois residents and 30,000 individuals across America are killed by guns each year, and tens of thousands more are injured but survive, often with life-changing injuries. ICHV takes a proactive role in educating Illinois citizens about the negative impact gun violence has on communities across our state. We achieve our mission through public education and awareness programs, and by acting as an information source to community groups, activists, policymakers, the media, and other concerned citizens and organizations. Our many programs, such as our Student Voices Program, Student Voices Activist Institute, Lincoln Awards event and more, help us deliver our message across the state and fulfill our mission to reduce gun violence.

ICHV successfully advocates for policies designed to minimize the impact gun violence has on Illinois residents. As a result, Illinois has some of the most progressive gun laws in the country, and we are recognized as a model for other state based gun violence prevention groups. Over our long history working together with our dedicated members and coalition partners, not only have we defeated many of the gun lobby’s key measures, we have also made numerous other accomplishments, including:

  • Contributing to a 20% decrease in the number of Illinois residents killed by guns since 1995, and a nearly 60% decrease in the number of children and teens killed by guns during that time.
  • Helping to pass legislation requiring mandatory criminal background checks to be conducted on all sales at Illinois gun shows, and requiring that gun safety locks are included with the purchase of all handguns.
  • Helping to implement legislation to require Illinois gun owners to keep their firearms unloaded and locked in households where children 14 and younger are present.
  • Working successfully with law makers and law enforcement to mandate that all guns recovered from crimes in Illinois are traced.
  • Persuading nearly 30 newspapers around Illinois to no longer accept classified ads for firearms from unlicensed gun dealers who do not require mandatory criminal background checks on their buyers.
  • Awarding more than 160 student winners from 85 different schools over the past eighteen years for participation in our Essay, Poetry & Art Contest.

We are proud of the bi-partisan work we have done over our 38 years, working closely with victims, community members, the media and elected officials to educate the public about the devastating effects of gun violence and to work toward sensible, effective solutions. To become involved with ICHV’s work, please contact our office at 312-341-0939 or email us at:

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Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence