While Illinois’ historic 22-month budget impasse has again dominated the legislative session in Springfield, state lawmakers have also grappled with how to respond to Chicago’s gun violence.
One high-profile bill aimed at stemming the violence would impose longer prison sentences for repeat gun offenders. Under the proposal, people caught with an illegal gun a second time would face a maximum 14-year sentence. Judges could issue shorter punishments if they explain their reasons. Currently, the maximum sentence is seven years.
The bill has already passed the Senate, and needs approval in the House and from Gov. Bruce Rauner, who said he’ll sign it in its current form. The idea is nothing new in Springfield, but this time the opposition is coming from Chicago Democrats, not downstate Republicans or the National Rifle Association.