Story by 89 WLS web writer Kim Rasmussen
(CHICAGO) A group of House Republicans introduced new legislation today, focused on helping keep children and communities safe from violence.
State Representative Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) says the measures in the "Protect Our Children" initiative target the greatest threats to children's safety, which is gang and school-related violence.
"We cannot sit idle with the catastrophic gun violence occurring in the streets of Chicago on a daily basis," Durkin said. "We know the enemy - the street gangs and members of the drug trade. We can no longer tolerate the loss of innocent children and law-abiding citizens. We are taking a harsh but necessary position with these bills to rid our neighborhoods of this criminal element."
Illinois House Republican Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego) said "We need to constantly be working on and setting policies in Springfield that protect the next generation." He believes the proposals introduced Tuesday will better protect children across the state.
The initiative includes increased penalties for gang-related gun offenses, moving the minimum sentence for possession of a firearm by a street gang member from three to four years and making it a non-probational offense.
It also cracks down on gang recruitment in communities, adding two felony offenses for recruiting adults or minors to join gangs that do not require proof of physical force.
Other measures in the plan aim at improving mental health reporting and school violence prevention.
© Content Copyright 2013 WLS Radio 890AM and WLSAM.com. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.