SPRINGFIELD, IL – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation initiated by Cook County State’s Attorney Dick Devine that enhances penalties for gun traffickers who aid criminals in their illegal efforts to obtain firearms and allows the maximum penalty for those who use body armor while illegally possessing a gun.
“This bill provides law enforcement with another tool in the fight to take guns away from gang members and ex-felons, and to punish people who act as a conduit to crime by helping criminals obtain weapons illegally.” stated Governor Blagojevich.
House Bill 4949, sponsored by state Rep. Edward J. Acevedo (D-Chicago) and Sen. Antonio “Tony” Munoz (D-Chicago), extends the statute of limitations for several offenses relating to the illegal sales of firearms and the offense of tampering with a gun’s serial number. HB 4949 allows state’s attorneys to commence the prosecution in these crimes within five to six years of the offense. Previously, state’s attorneys were restricted to a time period of three years to try a gun-trafficking case. Further, the new law makes it a Class X felony for gunrunning when more than 11 guns are involved.
The new law also addresses an increasing threat law enforcement officers face as dangerous criminals are using body armor to further arm themselves against police. The new law provides for enhanced penalties for various gun crimes committed while wearing or possessing body armor.
“This important bill goes after those dangerous criminals who are dressed to kill--those who possess a gun while wearing body armor,” said Devine. “This legislation was designed to better protect police who put their lives on the line every day.”
House Bill 4949 becomes effective immediately.