If there's one thing about guns that Jody Weis says he learned as former Chicago police superintendent, it's that there's a huge inconsistency in the enforcement of gun laws.
That's why Weis is a big fan of the proposed Cook County gun court. It offers a better chance that guns laws will be uniformly enforced.
"The people who should go to jail -- should go to jail," Weis says.
But, in his experience, that's often not what happens. Sometimes offenders get probation for carrying an illegal weapon. Sometimes, judges ignore mandatory sentences.
A gun court could change that, he says. That's Step One. Step Two "is to advertise, get the message out, that if you use a gun you are going to jail for 10 years," Weis says. "That would start getting their attention."
Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, who has said she supports the concept of a gun court, has appointed a task force to study that idea and others.
It wouldn't be the first gun court. There used to be two gun courts at the old police headquarters at 11th and State. But those were discontinued.
When Preckwinkle first announced her support for a gun court, Chief Judge Tim Evans balked, saying he first needed to hear from judges, the state's attorney and public defender. Evans' concerns will need to be addressed by the task force.
Last year, the Chicago Sun-Times found that of more than 8,000 people sentenced between 2005 and March 2012, about 54 percent received probation and the others received prison or jail terms in Cook County criminal court cases.
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