Governor Signs Bill Co-Sponsored by Rep. Bellock to Help Curb Chicago Gun Violence

Governor Bruce Rauner signed a key criminal justice reform bill chief co-sponsored by State Representative Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale) at the capitol on Friday. The new law is aimed at curbing the out of control gun violence happening on the streets of Chicago. Attendees at the bill signing were Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago), House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs), Rep. Patti Bellock (R-Hinsdale), State Rep. Michael P. McAuliffe (R-Chicago), and other members of the General Assembly.

“762 murders and 4,331 shooting victims in Chicago last year is simply horrific, it must stop!” Rep. Bellock said. “None of us enjoy turning on the news each day to hear there was another death on the streets of Chicago as a result of gang violence. This bill will help curb that violence and crack down on the criminals who keep committing these heinous crimes.”

SB 1722 makes a number of changes to the criminal justice system to improve how we punish and rehabilitate gun offenders, as well as combat gang violence in Illinois. The bill will strengthen sentencing guidelines on offenders whom have committed a gun crime before. It creates a First-Time Weapon Offender Diversion Program to address the underlying reasons why a young adult may have committed the offense. Additionally, the bill will create a Violent Crime Intelligence Task Force within the Illinois State Police. This task force will be dedicated to combatting gun violence and other violent crime in Chicago and around the state.

“Oftentimes our first time offenders are thrown into jail without any rehabilitation, resulting in first time offenders becoming second and third time offenders,” Rep. Bellock added. “After first time offenders serve their time, we want them to realize they have a choice to live a life of crime or be a contributing member of society.  I am hopeful this new law will not only reduce crime on the streets of Chicago, but throughout the state as well.”

Negotiations on SB 1722 were underway for months between the Governor and the General Assembly. The compromise bill passed the Senate in April, and the House passed it at the end of May. The new law takes effect January 2018.

Rep. Bellock serves the 47th District, which includes portions of Elmhurst, Hinsdale, Westmont, Clarendon Hills, Darien, Downers Grove, Oak Brook, Oakbrook Terrace, Burr Ridge and Western Springs.

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