A recent Chicago Sun-Times report indicates Chicago is heavy on gun control but very light when it comes to prosecuting those who commit crimes with guns.
According to the Sun-Times, the minimum sentence for “illegal possession of a gun” in Illinois is one year and the maximum is three. But of these two options, Cook County judges are handing down the minimum sentence far more often.
And for felons caught in possession of firearm–a crime with a minimum sentence of two years and a maximum of ten–judges are most-often handing down a sentence of four years. That’s a sentence just two years over the minimum and not even half of the maximum.
Moreover, those sentenced rarely even serve the entire four years because of Illinois’ “good time” rule and the “credit” they get for “time held in the Cook County Jail while awaiting trail.” This lack of serious prosecution has created an environment where “those charged with gun possession by a felon had an average of 10 prior arrests.”
Yet while prosecutions wane, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s push for more gun control remains strong–and this includes a push for stiffer sentences for anyone possessing a gun illegally. But this push has been met with opposition, inasmuch as many fear that it focuses on the one area where a law-abiding citizen may face prosecution for inadvertently breaking one of Chicago’s myriad of gun control laws.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.