Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's argument for stiffer firearms sentences is supported by a new study showing gun possession offenders placed on probation are more likely to get re-arrested for murder than other felons, says Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy. The Chicago Sun-Times reports that the University of Chicago Crime Lab studied whether those convicted of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon — a gun possession charge — have higher arrest rates for murders and non-fatal shootings than other felons.
Using police arrest data, the study found aggravated weapon offenders four times more likely to be re-arrested on murder charges and nearly nine times more likely to be locked up for nonlethal shootings than other felons. “This data makes clear that we have to treat illegal gun possession as the violent crime that it is,” McCarthy said. A bill backed by Emanuel and Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez would raise the mandatory minimum term for the weapon charge from one to three years and would require offenders to serve 85 percent of their time — a “truth in sentencing” provision.