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Mon October 14, 2013
Tougher Penalties For Illegal Gun Possession?
Illinois lawmakers will be asked to increase the minimum prison term for people convicted of illegal gun possession. Advocates say it's necessary to reduce violence. Currently, it's possible to get probation, with no time in prison for illegal possession. Under the proposal, an offender could go to prison for at least three years.
St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly says Chicago gets a lot of attention for its high murder rate -- five times the national average --
"Last year, in East St. Louis, which is in my county, it was 20 times the national average a couple years ago. So four times what Chicago is, in terms of per capita," Kelly said.
The state Corrections Department says the changes would result in thousands more inmates at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars. The National Rifle Association says the law could ensnare people with Illinois' new concealed carry permits who make a mistake about where they can and cannot bring their guns.
Illinois Public Radio's Brian Mackey contributed to this report.