Repeat gun offenders face harsher penalties under new law
Repeat gun offenders will face increased penalties in Illinois as of 2018 thanks to a measure signed into law by Gov. Bruce Rauner in late June.
Bipartisan Senate Bill 1722 also creates a diversion program for first-time nonviolent offenders and an Illinois State Police task force designed to share intelligence on violent crime.
Judges will be provided with guidelines for sentencing repeat gun offenders at the higher end of the existing sentencing range.
“[It is] a very important step forward in criminal justice reform to keep our neighborhoods safer, but also to create an opportunity for nonviolent offenders to have a second chance and be productive citizens as well, “ Rauner said.
Rauner said that with the help of criminal justice reforms, the nonviolent offender population has been reduced by 10 percent in prisons and 50 percent in the juvenile justice system in the past two years.
He also said the road to the bill signing was difficult and a result of compromise.
“This was not easy legislation to pass,” Rauner said. “This took a lot of work for many months by many people ... . This was a compromise. It shows what we can do when we put our minds to it and decide to work together to solve problems.”
Rauner emphasized that while the bill was significant for Illinois, it is not the final product but merely a step in the right direction. More needs to be done to bring criminal justice reform to the state, he said.
Rauner said the lack of job and economic growth is a contributing factor to crime and needs to be addressed as well.