Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez announced that the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office had received the Illinois Legislature approval for the newly drafted tough firearms trafficking bill, which was made to target straw purchasers who are responsible for bringing guns from several other states and into the State of Illinois. The gun trafficking bill now awaits the signature of Governor Bruce Rauner before the bill is finalized and set to eradicate gun sales on the streets of Illinois.
House Bill 6303, an amendment of the Criminal Code of 2012, allows law enforcers to utilize additional tools as an offense for firearms trafficking. This new bill targets straw purchasers who obtain and sell firearms, ammunition, or both that are illegally taken from outside the State of Illinois and into the illegal black market. Offenders of the new bill, especially those that have not been issued a current and valid Firearm Owner’s Identification Card, will face criminal charges for the offense of firearms trafficking. Offenders may also face more severe charges, including Class 1 Felony charge for firearms trafficking, and Class X Felony charge for those with a history of a criminal conviction under the same offense, or those that were previously involved in firearms trafficking, gunrunning, or other felony offense related to the unlawful sale and delivery of firearms. Class 1 Felony offenders of this bill may be sentenced from four to 20 years in prison.
Additionally, the new gun trafficking bill amends the Unified Code of Corrections, in which violators of this new bill shall not undergo probationary status, nor be given a term of periodic imprisonment or conditional discharge but are to face minimum to maximum term of imprisonment effective immediately after being found guilty of firearms trafficking or both firearms and ammunition.
Recent studies have shown the staggering trend in the flow of illegal firearms from other states and into the State of Illinois. The University of Chicago Crime Laboratory further claimed that nearly 60 percent of the recovered firearms recovered from several crime scenes in Chicago back in 2010 was found to have been primarily purchased outside of Illinois. Moreover, it was revealed by the study that there was a consistent increase in the number of firearms being taken into the state, from 2001 to 2010. The study conducted by the University of Chicago Crime Laboratory also demonstrated the “time to crime” for the firearms recovered in crime scenes, which showed the correlation between the increase in the number of firearms coming into Illinois, and the total amount of guns recovered in crime scenes across Illinois. It was also noted that the guns illegally acquired from across the border of Illinois were used in crimes in less than a year from its time of purchase.
Interrogations of inmates also revealed that firearms were obtained from gang leaders and members who organizes out of state trips solely for the purpose of purchasing firearms to hand out to buyers and their other members. About 70% of the inmates were also found to have obtained guns through other social connections, such as those from friends and family members.
“We know that illegally trafficked guns contribute directly to the excessive rate of gun crime here in Chicago and we must continue to work to identify and implement new strategies that target these offenders,” said Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.
Shooting in Chicago were reported to have increased to up to 88% by the end of March 2016, as compared to last year’s records. From 1,587 reported people who have been shot, around 2,988 individuals shot is now the case.
“With shootings and gun violence at epidemic levels here in Chicago, this measure could not come at a more important time. I thank all of the bill sponsors and urge the Governor to sign this important new legislation,” said Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.
The new gun trafficking bill specifically targets offenders of firearm trafficking who are already banned from possessing firearms and excludes those that possess a Firearm Owners Identification Card previously issued by the Department of State Police, those that possess a common carrier, and those that are non-residents who lawfully possess a firearm in his or her resident state.
The Chief Sponsors of the House Bill 6303 are State Representative and House Leader Jim Durkin and Senate Leader Christine Radogno, for the House and State, respectively.
Updated: September 21, 2020