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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 13, 1999

Ryan Urges Safe Neighborhoods Law To Be Re-Enacted, Illinois Police and Prosecutors Join In Call For Anti-Crime Laws

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan, joined by police chiefs and prosecutors from across the state, called today on the General Assembly to re-enact the anti-crime Safe Neighborhoods Act in it's entirety.

"When we passed the Safe Neighborhoods Act, we took weapons off the street and put law enforcement weapons in the hands of police officers and state's attorneys all over this state," Ryan said. "The Supreme Court ruling last week had nothing to do with the substance of the laws in this critical package.

"The laws in the Safe Neighborhoods Act are essential law enforcement tools. They crack down on drunk drivers and street gangs. They stiffen the penalties for criminals who carry guns," the governor added. "They stop gun runners."

Ryan noted that illegal firearms seized in Chicago have dropped dramatically since the law was enacted, from more than 22,000 during 1994 to 11,000 during 1998. The law has helped intensified police efforts to crack down on the illegal use of weapons.

In addition to law enforcement leaders Ryan was joined by Joan Knight, widow of Chicago Police Officer John Knight. She also called for swift passage of the Safe Neighborhoods Act. Officer Knight was gunned down by a dangerous criminal during a routine stop last year.

"This law is about making the streets safer for our police officers so that no other families are left without husbands, wives, sons or daughters, " Ryan said. "It is about making our neighborhoods safer. I'm asking the members of the General Assembly to do just that."


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