Illinois' Republican U.S. Senator wants state lawmakers to pass legislation aimed at cracking down on gang violence in the state. Mark Kirk urged the General Assembly to get behind a measure that would increase mandatory minimum sentences for certain gun offenders.
"I would just say to the state legislature, the coming vote on the mandatory minimum for gun crimes is the anti-gang vote of the year. If you're worried about gang violence in Illinois, you should back that," Kirk said.
Last week, Chicago-area lawmaker Mike Zalewski withdrew his bill that requires a 3-year sentence for illegally carrying a loaded gun. It also pegged felons and gang members for ten-year sentences. Zalewski says he's still hopeful for compromise legislation. Officials say the new rules could increase the state's prison population by the thousands.
Illinois Public Radio's Willis Kern contributed to this report.