Protesters meet to Stop Bad Apple Gun Dealers in Illinois

Gun Retail ShopThis week supporters and protesters met at Chuck’s Gun Store, located in Riverdale, Illinois, in support of the national Brady Campaign. The campaign’s initiative is to prevent gun violence, and is called, “Stop Bad Apple Dealers!”

With the the new Concealed Carry law passed in Illinois, many citizens are worried about an increase in gun violence. Statistic show that crime rates have lowered since the law passed, but many believe that it’s not enough. That’s why this new campaign is set to target “Bad Apple Gun Dealers” in their tracks — getting crime guns off the streets.

Dan Gross, the president of the Brady Campaign states that, “The vast majority of gun dealers actually do their part and are a strong front line of defense, keeping guns out of criminals’ hands. In fact, more than 80 percent of gun dealers can actually proudly say that they do not report a single crime-gun trace to their shop, but unfortunately that leaves the others.”

Chuck’s Gun Store contributes to Gun Violence

Chuck’s Gun Store seems to be the perfect gun retailer store to picket. The “bad apples” Brady is targeting are the 1% of gun dealers who knowingly sell guns to those who are prohibited, or gun traffickers (which are responsible for 60% of crime guns across the country). According to data and research, Chuck’s Gun Store is within this 1% of “bad apple dealers”. Approximately 268 crime guns have been linked to Chuck’s between 2008 to 2012.

Director of legal action for Brady, Jonathan Lowry stated, “Without legal accountability these dealers can profit off sales that they know or should know are supplying criminals and leading to murders and other gun crimes.” He continued, “But with legal accountability we can take the profits out of supplying the criminal gun market and we can change the way criminals do business and shutdown those who refuse to change their ways.”

Lowry, Gross, and the Brady Campaign want to make it clear that their objective is not to target all gun dealers — just those who contribute to gun violence and crime. Their efforts will be concentrated on those dealers who, through data and fact checking, are making unsafe, illegal transactions.

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If you or a loved one are facing gun charges, we, The Law Offices of J. Samuel Worley, LLC, urge you to reach out to as soon as possible. Facing gun charges in Chicago can be exasperating, especially when it feels like no one wants to hear your side of the story. Our Chicago gun defense attorneys are here to listen, and assist anyway we can. Contact us for a free initial consultation today: 312-600-8655

 

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70 mph Speed Limit for Tollways Vetoed by Quinn

Illinois Tollway

This last Tuesday Governor Pat Quinn vetoed raising the maximum speed limit on Illinois tollways. As of now, the speed limit for these tollways is at 65 mph.

Quinn’s reasoning for the veto? He stated, “The convenience of increased speeds for drivers on Illinois tollways does not outweigh the safety risks to children, families and our dedicated public servants.” He continued, “Recent evidence shows that drivers already travel at excessive speeds on Illinois toll highways.”

His argument against the raised speed limit included a study done last year regarding Interstate 94 in Lake County. The study showed that 71 percent of the drivers on the tollway exceeded the posted speed limit by 15 mph or more. Another tollway study revealed that 91 percent to 98 percent of drivers on 7 different tollways spots went over the speed limit from anywhere between 11 mph to 15 mph on average during off-peak hours.

Rural Interstate Law Passed Last Year

It was only last year when Quinn had signed into law a separate Oberweis bill that raised the speed limit to 70 mph for rural interstates. He spoke about his reason for the increase last year stating, “This limited 5 miles-per-hour increase will bring Illinois’ rural interstate speed limits in line with our neighbors’ and the majority of states across America, while preventing an increase in excessive speeding.”

The passing of the rural interstate speed limit law was objected by Illinois Department of Transportation, state police and leading roadway safety organizations. Their opposition was primarily focused on the safety of drivers, especially between cars and semi trucks.

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Concealed Carry the Reason for Lower Crime Rates?

Concealed gun

Illinois is the 50th state in the U.S. to allow concealed weapons, and many believe that the new legislation has resulted in a decrease in crime rates. Concealed carry permits were numbered at 83,183 applications as of July 29th, and it’s believed that the number will reach to 100,000 Illinois citizens by the end of this year. Since last year, robberies that have led to arrests in Chicago has declined by 20 percent. Reports of burglary theft is down by 20 percent, and vehicle theft is down by 26 percent. In the first quarter of 2014, the homicide rate was at a 56-year low. With more citizens packing, it appears that there is a correlation between these statistics.

Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association states, “It isn’t any coincidence crime rates started to go down when concealed carry was permitted. Just the idea that the criminals don’t know who’s armed and who isn’t has a deterrence effect.” He continued, “The police department hasn’t changed a single tactic — they haven’t announced a shift in policy or of course — and yet you have these incredible numbers.”

Police Force or Legalization of Concealed Weapons?

While Pearson believes that it’s the legalization of concealed weapons, the Chicago Police Department credits the efforts of the police force for the lowered rates. Garry F. McCarthy, Police Superintendent, noted that the department has confiscated more than 1,300 illegal guns between January and March of this year. He believes that “intelligent policing strategies” and improved training has helped immensely.

No matter the reason, crime rates have decreased. Despite the worries of those who advocate for gun control, the legalization of concealed weapons has, at the very least, not created more crime. President of Crime Prevention Research Center based in Swarthmore Pennsylvania says, “There’s a lot of academic research that’s been done on this, and if you look at the peer-reviewed studies, the bottom line is a large majority find a benefit of concealed carry on crime rates — and, at worst, there’s no cost.” He continues, “You can deter criminals with longer prison sentences and penalties, but arming people with the right to defend themselves with a gun is also a deterrence.”

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New Law Banning Tobacco on Illinois Campuses Signed by Governor

Smoking banned on Illinois Campuses

This last Sunday, Governor Pat Quinn signed a new law that prohibits smoking on state-supported campuses. This law bans students from not only smoking indoors, but also any outdoor spaces on campus. This law goes into effect July 1st, 2015.

Governor Quinn also signed a law that will restrict the display of e-cigarettes — both laws are part of his agenda to improve the overall health of all of Illinois residents. The Smoke Free Campus Act has been sponsored and supported by many, including State Senator Terry Link (D-Waukegan) and State Representative Ann Williams (D-Chicago). The American Lung Association has been working with state legislators to see these laws through. Upper Midwest CEO Lew Bartfield of the American Lung Association is excited for the success, and stated:

“…the new law will provide a healthy learning environment that promotes health and wellness for students, faculty, staff and visitors at all public colleges and universities in Illinois. The law not only minimizes toxic secondhand smoke exposure but also improves the campus environment by reducing smoking related litter. We applaud the Illinois State Legislature and Governor Pat Quinn for passing and signing the Illinois Smoke Free Campus Act.”

Privately owned vehicles driving through the campus are exempt from this law. Likewise, the law won’t incriminate those who are parked on campus in a non-state-owned vehicle.

Smoke-Free Campuses

Currently the colleges in Illinois that are smoke-free are:

  • Aurora University
  • Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing
  • City Colleges of Chicago (7 colleges)
  • College of DuPage
  • Danville Area Community College
  • Greenville College, Hannibal LaGrange University
  • McHenry County College
  • Olivet Nazarene University
  • Rush University
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Waubonsee Community College
  • Wheaton College.

Other campuses that will be mandated to become smoke-free are:

  • Chicago State University
  • Eastern Illinois University
  • Governors State University
  • Western Illinois University
  • Northern Illinois University
  • Northeastern Illinois University, and
  • Any community college subject to the Public Community College Act.

Southern Illinois University and Illinois State University have already taken steps to a making their campuses smoke-free. “A college education can put people ahead in life, but smoking can do just the opposite,” Senator Link stated. “This new law will clear the air on campuses statewide and help produce healthier graduates.”

Chicago Drug Defense Lawyer

As Illinois takes steps to making a safer, healthier state, this law may seem a tad restrictive to some. Studies suggest that cigarette smoking can increase a person’s risk of using harder, illegal drugs.

If you have been convicted of a drug related crime and are unsure of your options, please do not hesitate to contact The Law Offices J. Samuel Worley for a free consultation. Sam Worley is an experienced Chicago Drug Defense Lawyer, and provides those in need with his experience, infinite resources, and the knowledge that will help them gain the confidence they need to protect their rights. Call today: 312-953-LAW1    

 

Emanuel Asks for Help with Fighting Chicago Crime

In our last couple of posts, we have been covering the crime rates of Chicago, as a lot of anger and confusion has derived from their accuracy. While officials have stood behind their numbers, it seems that the public isn’t interested in them. What are they interested in? Feeling safe within their communities. As of recently, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has announced that the city of Chicago will be getting assistance from the state government.

Forty Illinois Police troopers will work with the understaffed, overworked Chicago Police department to try to help make certain communities safer. It’s no surprise to anyone who lives in the city; crime is concentrated in certain pockets of the South and West sides. Many young people have been murdered in these areas (once a day, on average), leaving the communities feeling abandoned, desensitized, and rightfully angry.

Prejudices lead to Negative Attitudes within Law Enforcement

Territorial and cultural prejudices have made law enforcement agencies view each other as rivals, as opposed to allies. Whether it’s for public stature, for budget money, or even for bragging rights, the agencies haven’t really been willing to work with one another in the past. City, state, and federal units are known to not want to cooperate, so when Emanuel “asked” Gov. Pat Quinn (who oversees state troopers) for help — it was considered a bold request.

This unique approach has many people wondering it will be enough of an effort. Fifty CeaseFire interventionists will be added as well, a total of 100 who will use tactics to defuse conflict. It will be interesting to see if this infusion will work, whether the partnership will be worth the effort, and even change how law enforcement views one another. Nonetheless, it is a game changer.

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Chicago Crime Rates Public Hearing – The Aftermath

Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer

Last week, on Friday August 1st, officials held a public hearing to discuss the latest statistics on Chicago crime. As we wrote in our last blog post, many are questioning the accuracy of these statistics. Crime rates are the lowest they have been for over two decades, but all we every see on the news is a report about another bloody shooting. Chicago police superintendent Garry McCarthy, surrounded by staff, faced city alderman last week and defended reports. Who’s really to blame? McCarthy believes the news organizations.

News Organizations to blame?

McCarthy criticized News organizations for the time they devote to the killings and other crime, believing that this festishism results in the perception that Chicago is the “crime capital of the country.” He stands behind his remarks, believing that Chicago shouldn’t hold that title, and that the crime rates are accurate.

“Through the first seven months of this year, murders are down 55 percent from 20 years ago and tdown 40 percent from 10 years ago, and down seven percent from last year’s record-setting lows,” stated McCarthy. While he is happy with the decrease in rates, some are still not buying it.

Many of the alderman left the hearing feeling as if all of the real, hard hitting questions asked of McCarthy were side-stepped. The alderman feel that the issue is not the statistics, but rather the perception.

Perception vs. Fact

“My son was in Ghana and some kids were getting an opportunity to come here for a program and when they heard that they were going to come to Chicago, they started crying,” stated Ald. Walter Burnett, 27th Ward.

Whether crime rates have decreased or not, it is true that the Chicago population feels unsafe; especially in certain areas where crime is concentrated. Burnett continues, “If you have a minority young man in your family, you are always on pins and needles every time they walk out of the house because you do not know what is going to happen you are always worried.”

More man power seems to be the request of many of the alderman. “Shootings and murders are not isolated here on the South and West side. We need more manpower,” said Ald. Bob Fioretti, 2nd Ward.

McCarthy is invested in the statistics, and states that they accuracy of these numbers is what helps the department understand where resources are needed, and what needs to be done to fight crime.

“We will not rest until every person in the city of Chicago and every community feels the effect of what those statistics are talking about,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

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Chicago Officials Hold Public Hearing on Crime Stats

In our last blog post we discussed how Chicago has statistically seen a decrease in violent crimes and homicides. But these statistics have left many wondering how accurate the numbers are. Weeks after multiple requests, Chicago Officials have agreed to hold a Public Hearing this morning (August 8th, 2014) to help clear up some of the communities concerns.

Chicago Progressive Caucus Makes Second Request for Public Hearing — Finally Heard

One of the requests was from the Chicago Progressive Caucus, who made a call for a public hearing back in early June. Seven members, including Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd), asked the Public Safety Committee chair, James Balcer (21st), to hold the meeting to address issues they suspect with the statistics. Specifically, the Chicago Progressive Caucus suspects that the Chicago Police Department is actually miscategorizing crimes in an attempt to diminish crime rates.

Decrease in Statistics are Exaggerated

Police Supt. Garry McCarthy states that overall homicide ratings have dropped (the lowest it’s been in decades), despite constant reports about shootings in the city. Fioretti feels like this statement and the decrease in statistics are overwhelming exaggerated. According to a Chicago Tribune Article, the Inspector General found that Chicago police did not report nearly a quarter of the aggravated assault and aggravated battery victims in an audit about crime statistics in 2012. Counting incidents instead of the victims involved (as is procedure) lead to a great deal of underreporting. This same process has been used by the department in city shootings — incident rather than victims.

“Safety is the No. 1 concern”

“We want to find what the public view is of crime classification, and reporting practices of the Chicago Police Department, because there’s a lot of issues dealing with the integrity of what the public is being told,” Fioretti sent at his first request. After that he has sent a second request, stressing that a hearing would happen whether the mayor and police department supported it or not.

“People need to know that what has been counted and what hasn’t, and what the real crime data is,” said Fioretti, who also wants more police resources including 500 new officers. “I hear it everywhere I go: Safety is the No. 1 concern.”

The meeting is being held at 10 am this morning at the City Hall in Chicago City Council’s chambers.

Call a Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer Today!

If you or a loved one have been convicted of a crime you did not commit, please contact The Law Office of J. Samuel Worley, LLC. to speak with a Chicago criminal defense attorney. We wholeheartedly stand by the phrase, “innocent until proven guilty,” and will work hard to fight for your rights. Call a for a free, confidential consultation today: 312-953-LAW1

Violence in Chicago

If you tune into the news, it seems like every story is about another murder that occurred within Chicago city perimeters. Take the Fourth of July for instance. This holiday is known to be a deathly holiday for Chicago. This year, sadly, there were 82 shootings over the Fourth of July weekend. So when someone tries to say Chicago is in its “golden age,” for homicide — it sounds absurd.

Chicago is in a golden age.

See — it sounds absurd! But this statement may actually be true. According to statistics, Chicago’s overall crime rate ranks 19th — 1 higher than Minneapolis (Chicago is slightly worse), but better than Kansas City, Indianapolis and Nashville. These statistics factor in population, so while Chicago is a violent city — due its dense population, the rates are surprisingly better than they used to be.

If you still don’t believe, take a look at some other statistics:

      • In the year 1992, Chicago had 943 murders — 2.6 per day.
      • In the year 2013, Chicago had 415 murders — 1.1 per day.

In two decades, the homicide rate decreased by more than half.

      • So far this year, the homicide total for 2014 is 206 — a decrease from last year.

While these statistics are excellent, a death is still a death. When a family member is a casualty of a shooting, the decreased homicide rates certainly do not ease the pain. Daniel Kay Hertz, a master’s student at the University of Chicago’s Harris admits that nearly all communities of Chicago have experienced a decline in murder and crime — but some other the most crime-ridden communities have only gotten worse.

Chicago Crime is Concentrated

While crime exist everywhere in Chicago, it’s no surprise that the majority of city crime is concentrated. It’s easy for anyone to look at these statistics, and suggest that crime is on the decrease — because it is. But that means nothing to the communities who suffer due to street gangs, unreliable public transportation, “food deserts” (a community that relies on corner stores for food supplement as they have no option for fresh food), and the pressure put on youth to join the criminal class. These communities are like deserts themselves.

Statistically wise, Chicago seems to be doing something right. It will be interesting to see how crime changes in the upcoming years. Judging Chicago off paper — we still have a lot of work to do to help the less fortunate communities.

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Illinois Lawmakers Sign New Bill to Help Ex-Convicts Find Employment After Release

Prison overcrowding has been a problem for many years. To save money and reduce overcrowding , a number of states have pushed inmates out on early release plans, but the question that seems to have no answer — what happens to these convicts afterwards?

If people get drawn back into the real world, get a job and make a living, studies show they’ll be less likely to go to prison,” stated Howard Husock, vice president for policy research for The Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. “With early release now on the menu for so many states, it makes the matter more pressing.”

Besides early release, two of the greatest factors that have affected so many ex-convicts ability to settle back into the real world has been lack of proper help/treatment, and how difficult it can be to find employment with a record. This month, Illinois lawmakers have taken strides to help the latter.

Based on Capability, not Record

Under a new law signed earlier this month, ex-offenders in Illinois will no longer have to disclose their criminal pasts until employers evaluate their qualifications, and abilities. This is great news for the newly released convicts trying to turn their lives around. State Rep. Rita Mayfield, who attended the signing at St. Michael Missionart Baptist Church on Chicago’s West Side, spoke about the new law; “This is the culmination of hope for so many individuals.”
Among those who attended the signing was 34-year old Eddie Parker of Chicago who had served six years in a Correctional Center for drug possession. Though Parker, a certified butcher, was released a decade ago, he explained that securing a job over the years has been extremely difficult due to his record.

Ban the Box

This new law will allow ex-convicts a chance to show who they really are, their abilities, and personality before an employer is turned off by their record. At the signing, Parker mentioned the tiny box on every application that makes you check off if you have a criminal record. Parker said, “”Without [the box], it can change a lot. It gives us a chance to tell you our story. A person can change a lot coming back to society.”

Illinois is the fifth state to approve a law that requires the disclosure of a criminal history and criminal background until it’s determined that the potential employee is qualified for the position. Certain types of jobs — some construction jobs, emergency medical jobs and and security jobs — may be exempt. The law takes affect January first of next year.

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If you or a loved one have found yourself in need of legal support, please do not hesitate to call The Law Office of J. Samuel Worley, LLC. We protect the rights of all our clients, will help aid you with your legal matters, and help you reach a resolution. Contact our Chicago criminal defense lawyers today: 312-953-LAW1

 

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Quinn Signs off on Stricter Boater Safety Regulations

At the beginning of July, Governor Pat Quinn signed off on several different laws that were aimed to increase boating safety regulations. News of these updates happened over the Fourth of July weekend, and Quinn used it as an opportunity to remind Illinois residents. “Over the Fourth of July weekend, it’s important that all residents stay safe while celebrating, especially out on Illinois waterways,” Quinn stated in a news release. He continued: “While boating is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, everyone has to take precautions and follow the rules to keep drivers and passengers out of harm’s way. These new laws will help make Illinois lakes and rivers safer and more enjoyable for all…”

New Boating Legislation

The Chicago Democrat signed off on three measures at a ceremony that took place off the shores of Lake Michigan. These new measures focused on:

      • Require boaters to take safety courses
      • Create rules for towing people on water tubes or skies
      • Impose stricter boater DUI penalties

DUI on the Water

Being charged with a DUI on the water is much different than being charged with a DUI on the road. Quinn hopes that with this new legislation in place, boaters will realize how extreme a boating DUI offense is. State officials reported that there have been 16 deaths due to boating incidents this year, and many supporters of the new safety laws believe that all of these deaths could have been avoided.

While road DUI fatalities are much steeper than boating fatalities, no death is warranted. “Boats are every bit as dangerous as cars, and boat operators should be held to the same standard as drivers,” stated Senator Julie Morrison, who backs the new legislation.

The new law states that a person who is convicted of three boat DUIs, or those caught operating a boat with a license that has already been revoked, could have their boat taken from them. This law also applies to any boat operators who have been convicted of a reckless homicide, accidental death, or accidental injury.

Many supporters of the stricter laws hope that boaters will take safety more seriously, especially when boating on holidays. Besides boating DUIs, Quinn approved legislation that makes it mandatory for boaters to display a foot-long orange flag on the highest point of the boat while towing in people who are jet-skiing, or tubing. The last measure – beginning in 2016, Illinois residents born after January 1st, 1998, must be certified by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to operate a watercraft with more than a 10 horsepower engine.

Call a Chicago DUI Attorney for the Assistance you Deserve

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