Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is pushing for a new Illinois state law that would require longer sentences for people caught carrying guns illegally. The proposal would increase the mandatory minimum sentence from one to three years for people caught with loaded guns and without a license.
The minimum for felons carrying guns would go from two to three years with subsequent offenses carrying a minimum of five years. The law would also require those convicted of certain gun crimes to serve 85 percent of their time instead of just the 50 percent that is common now.
Emanuel says harsher sentences are just one part of a larger strategy to bring down gun violence.
“Whether it’s gun enforcement, whether it’s after-school programs, summer jobs, early childhood education, stronger, more effective policing, tougher laws, criminal background checks, we are going to play every key on this keyboard,” Emanuel said.
Emanuel announced the legislative effort along with his Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy.
McCarthy pointed at large posterboards at the side of the room showing people who had been convicted of gun crimes, received light sentences and then were murdered shortly after they were released.
“One (murder) committed in the seventh district was (of a man) convicted in 2012 for straw purchasing, from yes, a gunshop in the county of Cook. If that individual was serving his time he would not have been murdered last Friday morning,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy also had a posterboard showing three men who were recently convicted of gun crimes but were back out on the streets after serving short sentences. Those men were later charged with murder. McCarthy says they wouldn’t have had the chance to commit murder if they’d had longer sentences for their earlier gun crimes.