New law tightens penalties for firearms trafficking in Illinois

Wednesday, August 24, 2016
New law tightens firearms penalties
Gov. Rauner signed a bill that strengthens penalties for firearms trafficking throughout the state.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a bill on Tuesday that strengthens penalties for firearms trafficking throughout the state, which aims to stop illegal guns from making their way into the Chicago area.

Rauner and Republican leaders toured the Illinois State Police Crime Lab, where they will determine whether confiscated firearms were sold, purchased or transported to Illinois illegally.

"We're talking about people going outside the state, bringing guns back, bringing them into our state to hurt the people of the state of Illinois," said Leo Schmitz, of the Illinois State Police.

Rauner made a point of signing House Bill 6303 in Chicago, where there has been a dramatic increase in shootings and murders this summer.

However, no lawmakers from Chicago attended the Republican governor's bill-signing ceremony.

"This bill passed unanimously and this bill is supported by virtually everyone," Rauner said.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a longtime, out-spoken opponent of illegal interstate weapons trafficking, held a news conference at O'Hare International Airport at the same time this morning as Rauner's event.

"I think part of its just scheduling. But I'm not disappointed," Rauner said.

And no invited city Democratic state lawmakers, many of whom co-sponsored the bill, showed up at Rauner's crime lab event.

"Whether they want to show up is up to them," said state Rep. Jim Durkin, R-Westchester, the House Minority Leader.

James Ogden, a West Side anti-violence activist who attended the ceremony, was concerned about the absence city police and elected officials at the governor's event.

"Not even the leadership of the police district was here," Ogden said. "We do need to bring all of them together to make this an effective bill."

Mayor Emanuel's office issued a statement that said the new law is a step in the right direction.