Sen. Connelly applauds Senate on passes repeat gun offender bill

It’s time something is done to deal with the out-of-control gun violence in Chicago, said State Senator Michael Connelly (R-Naperville), which is why he voted in favor of a bipartisan measure that would help get violent, repeat gun offenders off the streets.

“I made a promise not too long ago that I was not going to leave Springfield without making sure the Senate would address repeat gun offenders,” said Sen. Connelly, who served on the Illinois State Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform. “Regardless of whether I represent a portion of the City of Chicago or not, this is important and critical to all of us. It’s time we penalize those who continue to prey on our communities.”

Connelly, who is the Minority Spokesman for the Senate Criminal Law Committee, says Senate Bill 1722 is a bipartisan approach to handling gun violence in Chicago, and was negotiated by him and other General Assembly members from both sides of the aisle.

“Last month, I appeared on a panel with Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson and he made it very clear that a bill addressing repeat gun offenders was something he and his department needed in order to stem the gun violence in Chicago,” said Sen. Connelly. “We came back to Springfield and we made that happen.”

SB 1722 subjects repeat gun offenders to the higher sentencing range unless the judge finds reason that the higher sentence isn’t warranted. This bill does not change any existing penalties or sentencing ranges. Instead, the bill directs the court to the higher end of the current sentencing range for repeat gun offenders.

The bill recommends a 7 to 14 year sentence on a 3 to 14 year sentencing range for a repeat offender charged as a felon in possession of a firearm, and a 6 to 7 year recommended sentence on a 3 to 7 year sentencing range for a repeat offender charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.

“This legislation does not affect first time gun offenders who made a mistake and deserve a second chance to get their lives back on track,” said Sen. Connelly. “This bill only targets those who are known threats to our communities and who need to be taken off the streets. I urge my colleagues in the House to send this piece of legislation to the Governor’s desk.”

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