In a move that seems to be flying a little under the radar, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a bill into law yesterday that makes a Class 4 Unlawful Use of Weapon conviction not probationable. Starting January 1, 2011, anyone convicted of carrying a loaded gun without a state firearm owner's identification card will be required to be sentenced to 1 year in prison. Previously, someone convicted of this crime was eligible for probation. This new law will make it much more difficult to negotiate plea agreements with prosecutors on UUW cases because the possibility of probation is now off the table. This law was passed during an election year in which politicians are trying to portray an image of "being tough on crime" by trying to feed off of the recent spike in gun violence in Chicago. Yesterday's bill signing occurred during an event to honor the memory of Chicago police officer Thomas Whortham who was recently shot and killed outside of his parents home. During the bill signing, Governor Quinn pointed out that his Republican opponent for Governor, Sen. Bill Brady, had voted against the bill.
The new law will go into effect on January 1, 2011.
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