The shocking shooting death of Nykea Aldridge as she was pushing a baby stroller Sunday afternoon in the Parkway Gardens neighborhood is something the Legislature should take to heart when it debates new gun legislation this fall.
What more do they need to see?
Two felons who were out of prison on parole despite their histories of serious crime were charged in the slaying. One of them had been convicted of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon in 2011 and the unlawful use or possession of a firearm by a felon in 2013, yet was back on the street.
Too often, those doing the shootings on Chicago streets are people released from prison after earlier gun-crime convictions.
As Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said, “ It’s time … take action when it comes to how we sentence our repeat gun offenders.”
To change that, state Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago, and state Rep. Michael J. Zalewski, D-Riverside, are proposing a bill that would push judges to sentence gun offenders to longer sentences within the ranges already set by law. It’s a variation of the concept of mandatory minimum sentences with an important escape clause — in cases in which judges feel a longer sentence is unfair they could reduce the sentence, but they would have to record their reasons for doing so in writing.
The goal is to keep people who repeatedly carry a gun illegally behind bars for longer without sweeping in people who don’t post a risk to others.
Raoul and Zalewski are still discussing the idea with various stakeholders, but they hope to introduce a bill this fall.
From Friday afternoon to Monday morning, 10 people were killed and 57 were wounded in Chicago shootings. It’s time for smarter laws and safer streets.Tweets by @csteditorials