Guns have become one of the most widely debated topics this year. There has been plenty of talk about gun control, which has angered many people in Southern Illinois. But, what about the penalties for committing a "gun crime"?
Republican lawmakers announced anti-crime legislation that would increase prison time for people convicted of crimes dealing with guns.
Their proposal would increase minimum prison time for offenders carrying guns from two years to four years for the first offense and from three to five years for subsequent offenses. Minimum sentences for aggravated unlawful use of guns would increase from three years to five years for second or subsequent offenses, while the maximum sentence would increase from seven years to ten years. For unlawful possession by a street gang member, the minimum sentence would increase from three years to four years.
One of the problems with this legislation is that Illinois already has an overcrowded prison system.
While adding two years to a minimum sentence might not sound like much, the effect it would have on the prison population is large. The John Howard Association of Illinois has stated that passing this legislation would increase the number of inmates by several thousand and cost taxpayers even more.
“While JHA believes that Illinois must create effective strategies to address gun violence, there is no conclusive evidence that longer prison sentences decrease the number of gun assaults or that an extra couple of years in prison will rehabilitate people,” John Maki, the executive director, said, according to The Southern.
Lawmakers behind this proposal have said they need to do what they can to protect children.
Source: The Southern