Chicago, IL – With more brutal shootings over the weekend in Chicago, state Rep. Michael Zalewski (D-Riverside) and state Sen. Antonio Muñoz (D-Chicago) are calling for a measure that aims to increase minimum sentencing for the most serious gun crimes and requires offenders to serve at least 85 percent of imposed sentences to be considered during the upcoming fall veto session.
“We continue to see criminals escaping with minor sentences for possessing and using firearms, which clearly shows us that our current laws as they relate to gun offenders fail to provide sufficient deterrence from committing these horrific acts of violence,” Zalewski said. “A prime example of where this proposed measure will help prevent crime is that one of the gunmen from this past weekend’s shootings had a Unlawful Use of a Weapon (UUW) charge in 2012, and if this law was on the books he would have been in prison, not committing murder on our streets.”
“As a former Chicago Police Officer, I understand the need to stop the gang fighting throughout our communities, this is why I am sponsoring HB 2265 in the Senate,” Muñoz added. “This legislation will give Cook County State’s Attorney Alvarez additional tools to ensure those who commit gun crimes serve 85 percent of their sentence. By adding mandatory minimums for crimes like the recent heinous shootings in Back of the Yards neighborhood, my hope is that these tougher penalties will act as a deterrent.”
House Bill 2265 is backed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez and Chicago Police Superintendent Garry F. McCarthy. The proposed legislation will increase the penalty for felons who carry guns, from two years to three years, with subsequent offenses requiring a minimum of five years. It will also increase the minimum sentence for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon when the offender does not possess a valid FOID card and the gun is in their possession and loaded, from one year minimum to three years minimum. Additionally, it will add these specific gun crimes to the list of serious crimes that are subject to Truth in Sentences guidelines, requiring that offenders serve at least 85 percent of their sentence.
“It is my hope that by implementing these penalty enhancements and having mandatory minimum sentences on the books, prosecutors will have the ability to punish these criminals and hopefully deter them from committing further gun crimes,” Zalewski said. “I believe that gun safety is a concern not only in my district, but across the state. I will continue to work on common sense public safety measures that will protect our families and loved ones.”
For more information and updates on House Bill 2265, please contact Sen. Muñoz’s constituent service office at (773) 869-9050 or Rep. Zalewski’s constituent service office at (708) 442-6500.