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Illinois government officials divided over proposed gun law changes

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Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois State Rep. Mike Zalewski (D) are leading efforts to change Illinois gun laws. Zalewski was appointed by Emanuel to lead the efforts that would require mandatory minimum sentences for people who break gun laws. However, government officials are divided over the effectiveness of the proposed changes.

Zalewski is asking state officials to support renewed efforts that will require gun criminals to serve minimum sentences. While Zalewski's proposed changes received some support, they also faced much opposition in Springfield. Opponents to the changes argue that incarcerating gun criminals will worsen overcrowding in Cook County jail and Illinois state prisons and also argue that mandatory minimum sentences are not effective.

To gain further support, Zalewski introduced a series of Smart Crime Bills to lower inmate populations and make room for people who break gun laws. The bills call for an increase in the threshold for felony theft from $300 to $500, an expansion of electronic monitoring for individuals released on bail and the release on recognizance of suspects arrested for possession of small amounts of heroin and cocaine.

The Smart Crime Bills and proposed changes to gun laws will go to Springfield for a vote next year.

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