Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson and Illinois State Senator Kwame Raoul are
announcing new legislation today that aims to hold repeat gun offenders – the small number
of individuals who are largely driving the violence in Chicago — accountable for their crimes.
The legislation will establish guidelines that aim to keep repeat offenders from returning to the
streets before an adequate amount of time is served, while still allowing judges to use discretion to
impose lighter sentences if there are significant mitigating circumstances.
Violence in Chicago this year has been driven by repeat gun offenders, and it is clear that they are
no longer deterred by Illinois’ current laws. In fact, more than 50 individuals involved in shootings
and murders this year would have been in prison at the time of the incident if tougher sentencing
policies were already in place. Furthermore, more than a dozen individuals who were arrested for
weapons violation this year would have been in prison at the time of the incident for a previous
weapons violent conviction if tougher sentencing policies were already in place.
“Repeat gun offenders are driving the violence in Chicago. We know who they are, we know
where they live, and we know the kind of destruction they can wreck on communities. The
Chicago Police Department is working hard to keep them off this street, but we need help from the
justice system to hold them accountable for their actions,” said Superintendent Johnson. “With this
legislation, we can hold these individuals accountable, deter potential offenders from committing
crimes, and keep more residents safe and free from gun violence.”
At today’s event, Superintendent Johnson and State Senator Raoul were joined by elected
officials, community leaders, and members of clergy.
“The challenge of addressing gun violence is not one just for law enforcement: it’s one for all of
us,” said State Senator Raoul. “It’s clear we need a comprehensive solution to reduce violent
crime in our communities. Part of that solution is legislation that ensures that repeat gun offenders
are held accountable for their actions, while at the same time maintaining judicial discretion to
consider the facts of a particular case. This is the beginning of an important conversation about
how to ensure that our streets are safe from the gun crime that prevent ourcommunities from
reaching their full potential.”
The Chicago Police Department has taken many steps in recent months to address gun violence
in Chicago, including seizing more than 4,300 guns since January — a 30 percent increase from
last year. CPD has also made more than 1530 gun arrests this year, a 9 percent increase from
last year. But it is clear that there are far too many illegal guns on the streets, used by criminals
with previous arrest histories, and this legislative effort aims to complement CPD’s work. The
legislation grows out of conversations between Superintendent Johnson and Senator Raoul –
along with State Senators Munoz and Zalewski – over the past several months to comprehensively
address gun violence in Chicago
In 2013, Mayor Emanuel led an effort for stricter gun laws aimed at repeat offenders. The
legislation sought to increase 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.
Moving forward, ongoing conversations will drive this piece of legislation as lawmakers in
Springfield work to gain public support.