Governor Pat Quinn today signed legislation today to help reduce gun violence. The new law requires a mandatory one- to three-year prison sentence for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon without an Illinois firearm registration card.
"We must work together to prevent gun violence in Chicago and all across Illinois," said Governor Quinn. "By signing this legislation here today, we are one step closer to eradicating irresponsible, tragic gun violence on our streets."
On May 28, Chicago Police Officer Thomas Wortham, 30, was laid to rest. One of the men involved in the shooting and killing of Officer Wortham was out on probation after being convicted of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. Officer Wortham was a Veteran who completed two tours of duty in Iraq.
"This legislation will reduce the threat of gun violence by sending a clear message that serious offenders will be held accountable and will not be let off scot-free as many of them have been in the past," said Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.
The bill signing was held in Nat King Cole Park just blocks from the Wortham family home where the deadly shooting of Office Wortham occurred. Officer Wortham was also the president of the Cole Park Advisory Council, on which he worked to expand programs for youth and improve the children's playground and running track.
House Bill 5832, sponsored by Sen. Antonio Munoz (D-Chicago) and Rep. Michael Zalewski (D -Riverside), adds language to the Criminal Code to include when a weapon is uncased, loaded, and immediately accessible and the person does not have Firearm Owner's Identification Program (FOID) card, the offender will be sentenced to a one- to three-year prison term. The offender will not be eligible for probation.
The new law is effective January 1, 2011. The Cole Park Advisory Council, with the help of the Chicago Park District, Chicago Police Department, and other community organizations, will be building the Thomas Wortham IV Memorial Playground in the fall of this year.