Lawmakers tweak mandatory minimum gun bill

Nov 6, 2013

Illinois lawmakers are whittling down legislation that would increase the minimum prison time for some people convicted of illegal gun use.  

 The bill has been weakened a lot this week.

 But the idea is still to put those caught using a gun illegally behind bars for longer periods of time.

 In its latest form - the mandatory minimum bill would mostly affect convicted felons or known gang members. They’d serve 4 years if found guilty of gun crimes. Democratic Representative Michael Zalewski is the bill’s sponsor.

 ZALEWSKI: I think we made significant, substantive concessions in this bill while keeping the spirit of the bill, which is protecting the state - public safety. I mean, we’re gonna get a bill that goes after violent criminals with guns and that’s what we wanted.

 A spokesman for Illinois’ prison system says the new bill would still be expensive.Some African-American lawmakers also spoke against the proposed mandatory minimums bill.

 They say it shifts the cost and political responsibilities of Chicago’s violent crime problem onto the state.