Chicago Police Superintendent Pushes for Longer Prisons Times for Gun Felons
He wants to keep them off the street.
NBC Chicago published an article about Chicago’s top cop, Superintendent Eddie Johnson, who testified before a House committee last week to lobby for longer sentences for gun crimes.
Supt. Johnson lobbied for a stronger gun sentencing bill, SB 1722. The bill has passed the Chicago Senate and is next to be heard in the House. SB 1722 would change current gun sentencing guidelines from three to 14 years. At the judge’s discretion, he or she could sentence offenders from seven to 14 years. Johnson said increasing gun crime punishments will help to end the “cycle of violence [that] just continues in our city.”
Of course, there are people who don’t support increased penalties for gun crimes. They argue that the sentencing guidelines would end up locking up more minorities when what would really help the minority community is jobs and more opportunities away from crime. Johnson, who is black, said locking up minorities is not his goal. But the legislation gives judges the ability to give harsher penalties to repeat offenders.
GOP House leader Jim Durkin is proposing an amendment that would give first-time gun offenders a break. This, he says, should help calm the fears of people who feel SB 1722 will incarcerate an unfair number of minorities.
The Illinois Senate approved SB 1722 and its tougher sentencing last week by a vote of 35-9. Chicago needs to do something about its gun violence problem, and people who support this bill feel this is a step in the right direction. Last year, there were more homicides in Chicago than in New York City and Los Angeles combined. What do you think? Do you think increased sentencing will help?
Image of Supt. Johnson testifying taken from a video on nbcchicago.com