Tracy, House Republicans introduce tougher gang violence legislation
3 months, 1 week ago
Package focuses on gang violence prevention, conflict resolution education
State Representative Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) and a group of House Republican legislators today introduced new legislation to help keep our children and our communities safe from violence. The measures in the “Protect Our Children” initiative target the greatest threats to our children’s safety – gang and school-related violence.
“We need to constantly be working on and setting policies in Springfield that protect the next generation,” said Illinois House Republican Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego). “We believe these proposals introduced today will better protect our children across the state.”
“What we are seeing more and more is the presence of mental illness in the individuals who are committing these heinous gun crimes,” said Rep. Jil Tracy. “We need to improve reporting and communication between our court systems and the State Police to ensure we keep firearms out of the hands of persons who may be suffering mental health problems and have the potential to harm others or themselves. We also need to improve access to mental health programs and get these folks the help they need before they act. I think these bills will be a good step toward those goals.”
- House Bill 1925 (Floor Amendment #1) utilizes gun offense fines to enhance mental health reporting. A recent audit conducted by Auditor General Bill Holland found that due to deficiencies in the reporting of individuals with potentially disqualifying mental health conditions, State Police don’t always receive information needed to revoke or deny FOID cards. This proposal imposes an additional $50 fine on defendants convicted of certain firearm offenses to fund continuing education for circuit judges and circuit court clerks to improve the reporting of mental health prohibitors to the State Police.
- · House Bill 1978 (Floor Amendment #1) improves conflict resolution education in schools. To help prevent school-related violence, this legislation ensures school districts will provide instruction and training in violence prevention and conflict resolution education as part of social-emotional learning standards for all students in grades pre-kindergarten through 12. The State Board of Education and local school boards are not required to implement these provisions unless funding is available from private sources, the State, or the federal government.
Other measures in the plan target gang related offenses which are commonly linked to gun violence:
- House Bill 3217 increases penalties for gang-related gun offenses. It increases the minimum sentence for possession of a firearm by a street gang member from 3 up to 4 years and makes it a non-probationable offense. The legislation also requires 85% truth in sentencing for many gun offenses by felons and known gang members.
- House Bill 3009 cracks down on gang recruitment in our communities. Illinois’ gang recruitment law currently requires prosecutors to prove that the defendant used force or coercion to recruit another person into a gang. This legislation adds two new felony offenses for recruiting adults (Class 4 Felony) or minors (Class 3 Felony) to join gangs that do not require proof of physical force. Twenty-nine states have a higher causation standard than Illinois. Neighboring states like Missouri, and 28 others that we compete with, require something more than for the workplace to be only "a" cause. Twenty-nine states have a higher causation standard than Illinois. Neighboring states like Missouri, and 28 others that we compete with, require something more than for the workplace to be only "a" cause. Last week the governor of Kansas signed into law legislation requiring that the workplace be the prevailing or primary cause of an injury for it to be covered under workers' compensation.
“These bills are a common sense move considering the record number of murders and gang-related violence in Chicago and across the state,” added former prosecutor and state Rep. Dennis Reboletti (R-Elmhurst). “These proposals outline a good start to further crack down on gangs, stop the killings and give children the protection that they deserve.”