History of Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence
In 1973, four women, Lessie Davison, Patricia Koldyke, Florence McMillan and Susan Sullivan, appalled by the rising tide of handgun violence in Chicago began looking for a solution to the problem. The women formed a working group called the Committee for Handgun Control a 501 c4 civic organization. They pursued an innovative strategy by petitioning the Consumer Product Safety Commission to declare handgun ammunition a hazardous substance, therefore making it subject to federal health and safety regulations. The gun lobby’s reaction was swift and powerful. They successfully lobbied Congress to exempt all guns and gun related products from the Commission’s control. However, the Committee for Handgun Control attracted enormous media attention for its efforts and the gun violence prevention movement in Illinois was born.
In 1975, the Committee created the Committee for the Study of Handgun Misuse (CSHM) to foster and disseminate research on the subject. The CSHM published Handgun Control: Issues and Alternatives, the well-received handbook that exposed handgun myths perpetrated by the gun lobby.
In 1980, CSHM initiated the annual Abraham Lincoln Awards to honor public officials and citizen advocates who possessed the courage to take a strong stance against gun violence. The first annual Walk Against Gun Violence occurred in 1982 as an effort to educate people and encourage widespread advocacy efforts.
As the need increased for gun violence prevention information and education, the CSHM expanded into a statewide organization and in 1984 was renamed the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence.