With concealed carry being implemented in Illinois, State Rep. Mike Zalewski (D-Riverside) says stricter penalties for gun crimes should go along with it.    While admitting most hardened criminals probably won’t take the time to even apply for a firearm owner’s ID (FOID) card or a concealed-carry permit, Zalewski says, “Law enforcement officials believe, frankly, there’s a lack of tough gun penalties in Illinois.” 

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There is a cost to longer prison sentences, however.  While careful to stress the prison agency is not expressing an opinion about legislation, Illinois Department of Corrections spokesman Tom Shaer says there’s more to the system than some realize: “The Department of Corrections is the food, shelter, heat, hot water, and health care provider for over 48,000 inmates. That's not just a matter of locking someone up and ensuring the public safety.”  Regardless, Zalewski says he's optimistic the bill can pass.


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