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Gun court plan ‘not such a good idea,’ Toni Preckwinkle says

Thursday, August 01, 2013
Chicago Sun-Times

The gun court plan that Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle said she wanted to implement by July 1 is on its way to the grave. Preckwinkle said she had told Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey, who was pushing for the court, that a committee would “look into” the plan.

The project would have created a special court to make punishment for illegal gun possession more “predictable and efficient,” according to Fritchey. After Wednesday’s Cook County Board meeting, she told reporters that the committee discovered that it was “not such a good idea.”

“In the course of looking into it, we discovered that there was no support for it in the judiciary, no support from the state’s attorney, no support from the public defender, no support from our probation people,” Preckwinkle said. “So, when you say you’re going to look into something and you find that the critical actors are all opposed to it, you draw certain conclusions.”

Preckwinkle said the committee responsible for researching the plan, the Violence Prevention, Intervention and Reduction Advisory Committee, will meet on Aug 12 and will make a decision about the gun court. The University of Chicago Crime Lab was among the organizations that supported the idea of a gun court. In a memo to Fritchey, the crime lab said a gun court has the potential to change gun-carrying behavior the same way drunken-driving enforcement changed drinking and driving behavior.

The judge presiding over a gun court would have to consistently reinforce the message that the consequences for carrying a gun illegally are “definite and stringent,” the memo noted.

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