* From a Tribune editorial…
[Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy’s] point: Illinois needs stricter gun laws, and it needs to enforce its gun laws, to ensure that criminals know possessing a gun on the street carries dire consequences.
Here’s the frustrating part: A bill to do just that went nowhere in the legislature this year. The bill, introduced by state Rep. Michael Zalewski, D-Chicago, would have set stiffer sentences for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and for gun crimes committed by felons. It would have required that offenders serve at least 85 percent of their sentence.
McCarthy, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel supported the bill. Had it been in place last year, Champ would have been sent to prison, not boot camp, for running around his neighborhood with a loaded gun. […]
This spring, the General Assembly was intensely preoccupied on legislation to permit the concealed carry of firearms. Zalewski’s bill to crack down on illegal gun possession got out of a House committee but then languished. Some Democrats opposed the stiff mandatory sentencing requirements, and some Republicans refused to back it before they passed a concealed carry law. Zalewski tells us he didn’t have the votes to pass his bill. […]
So here we are. Another national embarrassment for Chicago. Another senseless crime. Thirteen people wounded. The trauma extends well beyond those 13 people. It extends to their friends, to their families, to their neighbors, to everyone who has to think twice about whether he or she will catch a random bullet when gangbangers go after each other. […]
Zalewski said he plans to reintroduce his bill during the fall veto session. It should pass without a single “no” vote. Not … one.
* But Todd Vandermyde of the NRA posted a couple of notes in comments yesterday about that bill. I’ve fixed most of the typos to make it easier to read…
We offered the City an 85% 3-year term on Felons in possession last session, we were turned down because they wanted the whole thing to include those without a carry permit when we didn’t have one.
We as the NRA could work on and support the “felons in possession” issue. The Cook County State’s Attorney often tosses the Aggravated UUW or UUW as part of the plea deal for whatever reason.
I tried to pare down the issue to “bad guys with guns.” But they were so invested in the Plaxico Burress version they didn’t seem to care.
* I asked Rep. Zalewski for a response…
As I mentioned to the Chicago Tribune, a number of members expressed concern last Spring about voting for HB2265 in light of the ongoing conceal carry debate.
I, as the sponsor, had numerous constructive conversations with those members, along with Todd Vandermyde, chief legislative liaison for the NRA, in an effort to see if those members’ concerns could be addressed in the bill.
Unfortunately, there was never a meeting of the minds. As is my practice, I will continue to look for common ground in an effort to get the bill passed.