* I asked the NRA’s Todd Vandermyde last week about Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposal to slap mandatory minimum sentences on some repeat and first time offenses. Here’s his e-mailed response…
Still looks problematic as they want 3 years on any first offense. We just had a guy spend 14 months in Cook County for having an out of state carry permit.
We have a 17 year old sitting in Cook for bringing a gun to school because he was scared and they want to wreck his life for it.
What about out of staters who don’t get that their permit is no good here? What about the out of staters who the State Police won’t let apply?
[Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez] had to drop the charges of over 100 people. What makes anyone think she won’t over charge carry permit violations with [Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon] because she hates guns?
Most of it, are things we have said, but at some point, I think their possession by a streetgang member is going to run afoul of freedom of association issues when no criminal record exists.
Vandermyde opposed the mandatory minimum bill during the spring session, but told a Chicago City Council committee not long ago: “Yes, we can support a mandatory minimum… if they’re not prohibited from not owning a gun generally we can support mandatory minimums especially for repeat offenders:
* Vandermyde also had this to say to the Sun-Times…
He presented the hypothetical situation of a man with a concealed-carry permit leaving a gun in his vehicle because he and his wife are going into a place where guns are banned.
“Your wife leaves without you, takes the car and gets pulled over,” he said. “Now she is jammed up with a mandatory minimum.”
* The problem now, as I see it, is that the NRA is chafing at Chicago’s insistence on running a bill their way, so Vandermyde is pushing back…
Todd Vandermyde, a lobbyist for the NRA, said the group disagrees with the three-year minimums for first-time offenders. He blasted Emanuel for not doing enough to combat city violence.
“The mayor is looking for a public relations solution to a crime problem that he can’t get his hands around,” he said.
* But the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, which backed concealed carry, wants the bill passed…
While we support and enforce the rights of law-abiding citizens to possess and maintain firearms, the reality is that these rights are undermined every day by illegal gun violence and arbitrary sentencing. Illegal possession of a loaded gun is a violent crime and the laws should reflect that reality.
This bill will help reduce violent crime in Chicago and the entire state because it is narrowly targeted to reach the most violent offenders. According to a 2011 University of Chicago Crime Lab analysis of all felons sentenced to probation, offenders convicted of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon were 4 times more likely to be re-arrested for homicide and nearly 9 times more likely to be re-arrested for a shooting than other felons. Certain laws must be put in place to keep our streets safe, deter violent criminals and protect the rights of honest citizens.
Gun offenders put our officers and our families at risk. Last month in a mass shooting , 13 individuals including a 3-year boy were shot in Cornell Square Park. One of the accused shooters, Byron Champ was convicted of felony possession of a weapon in 2012 and could still be serving his prison sentence. You may also recall that Hadiya Pendleton was allegedly shot by Michael Ward, a prior gun offender who should have been in prison for his violent crime but was instead out on the streets.
* Hadiya Pendleton’s mother has stepped forward, which only increases the emotionalism behind the legislation…
Nine months after her murdered, 15-year-old daughter became the nationwide face of Chicago’s epidemic of gun violence, Cleopatra Pendleton can’t help but wonder, “What if?”
What if the Illinois Legislature had already approved a mandatory minimum, three-year sentence for gun crimes before Jan. 29, the day Hadiya Pendleton was gunned down while hanging out with friends at a park a few blocks from King College Prep?
“Learning that my daughter’s alleged murderer had been in jail for another gun crime was devastating. It was like rubbing salt in an open wound. It was like losing her all over again,” Pendleton said Tuesday.
“Every day, I wake up with a reminder that I’m in a world without her — without her life without her laughter, without her love. I wonder if a larger mandatory minimum had been in place if the person [who] allegedly shot and killed my daughter would have been in jail and Hadiya would still be alive.”
* Everyone can empathize with the Pendleton family of course, but the business of lawmaking requires compromise, and the simple fact is that the NRA has a lot of allies in the General Assembly and it has to be dealt with. Besides, not everyone on the liberal end of the equation is fully on board, either…
Sen. Kwame Raoul, a South Side Democrat who negotiated the concealed carry measure on behalf of gun control advocates, said he was torn by the mayor’s “desire and sense of urgency to do something about” gun violence and fears that an “unintended defendant would more likely be a person of color.” […]
Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn has said he would review Emanuel’s proposal. A spokeswoman said Tuesday the governor believes the most effective concept of reducing violence is to come up with “a comprehensive approach.”
Perhaps the most telling prospect signaling the fate of Emanuel’s legislation came from a spokeswoman for Senate President John Cullerton, the Chicago Democrat who is one of the mayor’s closest allies in the legislature.
Cullerton “shares the mayor’s goal of reducing gun violence in the city,” spokeswoman Rikeesha Phelon wrote in an email. “However, we are still reviewing the proposal, implementation concerns and cost estimates with the caucus and other stakeholders.”
So, rather than the usual Chicago bluster, which almost always results in nothing being done, how about they try to work out a deal before the personality conflicts make that impossible?