Chicago police chief advocates for stricter gun sentencing

SPRINGFIELD — Chicago’s top law enforcement officer says an Illinois Senate proposal to increase prison sentences for repeat gun offenders would help stanch the city’s rampant gun violence.

Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson on Thursday told the Criminal Law Committee the legislation would create a “culture of accountability.” Chicago recorded 767 homicides last year.

The proposal would direct courts to toughen penalties for repeat gun offenders within existing sentencing limits of current law. Judges could still hand out lighter sentences. But they’d be required to explain the factors behind their decisions.

The measure also includes reforms aimed at reducing prison populations. Many are from Gov. Bruce Rauner’s criminal justice reform commission.

Johnson says the plan will lock up violent offenders and discourage potential criminals from picking up illegal weapons.

In an interview with The Times last month, Rockford Police Chief Dan O’Shea echoed Johnson’s sentiments, saying that more needed to be done to stop repeat offenders from getting back on the streets.

–Associated Press

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