Would mandatory minimum sentences for gun crimes make an impact?

Law Office of Philip R. Nathe

The consequences associated with being convicted of a crime in the state of Illinois are often serious. Depending on the crime, in addition to financial consequences, it is possible that the convicted individual will spend time behind bars as well. Most would agree that the loss of one’s liberty is a potential outcome that should be taken seriously. In some instances, the period spent in prison is a result of a mandatory minimum sentence. Certain types of crimes are more prone to having these sentences in place.

If Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has his way, such laws will be applied to gun crimes in the state of Illinois. The motivation for the mandatory minimum 3-year sentence is apparently a desire to try to reduce the number of lives lost through the use of such a weapon. The sentence could apply to those who were found to be in possession of an illegal gun.

Not everyone thinks that this is a change that should be made to Illinois State laws. The reason behind this hesitation is the thought that such laws do not actually have the intended impact of reducing the number of deaths that occur due to the use of a gun. In addition, as one can likely imagine, the costs associated with such sentencing would cost the state a lot of money. One estimate puts the amount of money the state would have spent in incarceration expenses over the course of the past three years had such guidelines been in place at $400 million. Those opposed to the sentencing model assert that money could be used in other ways to battle crime.

Source: WBEZ, “Emanuel pushes mandatory minimums for gun crimes, but research shows they are ineffective,” Rob Wildeboer, April 11, 2013

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Would mandatory minimum sentences for gun crimes make an impact?