City Officials Call for Passage of HB2265 to Strengthen Gun Laws

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - BusinessMayor Rahm Emanuel, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, Alderman James Balcer (11th), State Representative Michael Zalewski (21st), State Senator Tony Munoz (1st), Chicago Police Superintendent Garry F. McCarthy and families who have suffered from gun violence urged the Illinois General Assembly to pass House Bill 2265, which increases penalties for several gun crimes, including a 3-year mandatory minimum for aggravated unlawful use of a gun and a requirement that offenders serve at least 85 percent of their sentence.

More than 100 people involved in shootings and murders this year in Chicago would have been in prison if tougher sentencing policies were already in place.  That includes at least 15 murder victims whose lives would have been saved if they were incarcerated. 

Last month, 13 individuals, including a 3-year old boy, were shot at Cornell Square Park. One of the accused offenders was convicted of felon in possession of a weapon who had already been sentenced to boot camp and released.

Under current law, illegal gun possession carries the same penalty as possessing unstamped cigarettes or repeated retail theft.  As a result, every year more illegal guns are recovered in Chicago than in any other city in the country.  CPD has recovered more than 5,500 guns year to date, and for the first six months of 2012, the Chicago Police Department collected nine times as many guns as NYPD and 3 times as many as LAPD (per capita).

Despite claims of exorbitant costs, HB2265 will pay for itself five times over by preventing violent crime and saving lives.  According to an analysis completed by the University of Chicago, in one year the bill would have prevented over 400 violent crimes by keeping the offenders in prison – saving $700 million associated with those crimes – or 5 times the costs of incarcerating those individuals.  

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