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Mayor Richard M. Daley today thanked the Illinois General Assembly for passing and Governor Pat Quinn for signing legislation proposed by the City that makes aggravated unlawful use of a weapon a non-probational offense if a person is apprehended carrying a loaded weapon without a valid state firearm card.
“This legislation will reduce the threat of gun violence by sending a clear message that serious offenders will be held accountable and will not be let off scot-free as many of them have been in the past,” Daley said in a bill-signing ceremony held at Nat King Cole Park, 361 E. 85th St.
Chicago Police Officer Thomas Wortham, who was shot and killed in May, served as president of the Cole Park advisory council. One of the men involved in shooting and killing Officer Wortham out on probation after being convicted of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon.
“It protects the rights of law-abiding citizens, but also gives us another tool to combat violence in our neighborhoods and protect our children,” he said.
The bill -- known as HB 5832 -- was one part of the package of common sense gun laws that the City proposed in Springfield last session.
“Gun violence is not just a Chicago problem, it is an American problem. And, it will continue until we understand that there are reasonable and responsible steps we can take as a nation to help end the needless gun violence that irresponsible people bring on our society,” Daley said.
The Mayor said that people support efforts like those the City has pursued in Springfield to enact reasonable gun laws.
He said that despite strong opposition from the gun industry, Chicago has had several important legislative victories in the last two years. In addition to HB 5832, the General Assembly has:
· Passed a new law that requires mandatory minimum jail time for gang members caught with illegal guns;
· Passed a new law that increases penalties for shooting students on or near school grounds and on or near public transit, and
· Created a new interstate gun trafficking task force to address the trafficking of illegal guns into Illinois.
Daley pointed out that there are more than 270 million privately owned firearms in our country, that in an average year more than 100,000 people in America are shot or killed with a gun and that more than 3,000 of these victims are children and teens.
“I'm proud that instead of accepting the violence -- and the gang thugs and drug dealers who are behind most of it -- that we're standing up to it in Chicago and Illinois. We all support the second amendment and responsible adults who legitimately want a gun in their home for self defense,” Daley said.
“Even with this new law and our city’s new gun ordinance, we will continue to pursue every avenue that reduces the chance of violence involving a handgun or any other weapon in Chicago,” he said.
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