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Illinois Senate Approves Tougher Gun Laws

Kwame Raoul
Seth Perlman

State legislators in Springfield are moving to address gun violence in Chicago. The Illinois Senate Thursday passed stricter gun laws long sought by the Chicago Police.

The legislation is meant to get judges to impose longer sentences on repeat gun offenders.

It would target people who get caught with an illegal gun more than once, basically doubling their sentence from 3 to 6 years. Among those speaking in favor of the legislation was Democrat Kwame Raoul of Chicago.

“I’ve got to go home like all of you have to go home — to this carnage. If this saves one life, just one life, I think it’s worth it,” Raoul said.

An analysis by the Illinois Department of Corrections says this could conceivably result in the state prison population going up by more than 1,300 people. But the legislation would also let judges give less time if they spell out a reason, making the true effect hard to predict.

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Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
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