Illinois' Republican US Senator is urging state lawmakers to pass legislation aimed at cracking down on gang violence in the state. During a stop in Bloomington, Mark Kirk urged the General Assembly to get behind a measure that would increase mandatory minimum sentences for certain gun offenders.
"I would just say to the state legislature, the coming vote on the mandatory minimum for gun crimes is THE anti-gang vote of the year. If you're worried about gang violence in Illinois, you should back that."
Early in this week's veto session, Chicago-area lawmaker Mike Zalewski (zuh-LESS-kee) withdrew his bill that requires a 3-year prison sentence for illegally carrying a loaded gun. It also pegged felons and gang members for ten-year sentences. Zalewski says he's still hopeful for compromise legislation. Kirk sponsored a bill that cleared the US Senate this summer granting $19.5 million for the fight against street gangs. Prior to that vote, Kirk had said he favors rounding up 18,000 Gangster Disciple members in Illinois and putting them in Thomson Federal Prison.
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