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Gun violence is a concern for virtually every city in America. Predictably, each time a high profile case of a crime committed with a firearm makes headlines, print, broadcast, and social media are almost instantly engulfed by advocates on both sides of the gun control debate. Reaction was similar in early 2014, when a new concealed carry law in Illinois allowed residents to apply for a concealed carry permit. Since the law took effect, the city of Chicago has seen crime rates drop significantly.

In order to obtain a concealed carry license, an Illinois resident must meet certain provisions regarding eligibility and training. The concealed carry law requires the state to grant a license within 90 days to any applicant who meets all of the requirements of the law. When the license is granted, it becomes legal for the licensee to carry a concealed loaded or unloaded handgun on their person or in a vehicle. Even with a license, though, it is not legal to concealed carry in specifically designated places including schools, government buildings, amusement parks, and airports.

By the end of July, the state had already received over 83,000 concealed carry license applications, and had granted almost 70,000 licenses. The Illinois State Rifle Association estimates 100,000 state residents will be legally permitted to carry a gun by the end of the year.

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In 1993, Juan Rivera was wrongfully convicted of rape and murder and served 19 years before finally being freed. The court found that coercive interrogation methods used under the authority of former Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge led to the conviction. Now, a new state law hopes to put an end to wrongful criminal convictions in Illinois.

Illinois SB1006 requires that recordings be taken of interrogations as part of certain violent crime investigations. Any statements made by a suspect in cases covered under the law will be ruled inadmissible in court unless the interrogation is recorded via audio or video. The new requirements will be phased in over the next three years, according to the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange as follows:

  • June 1, 2014 – Aggravated arson and predatory criminal sexual assault of a child
  • June 1, 2015 – Aggravated vehicular hijacking, home invasion, and aggravated kidnapping
  • June 1, 2016 – Aggravated battery with a firearm, aggravated criminal sexual assault, and armed robbery.

The law is designed to offer some clarity in cases where police and suspects must recount their interrogation experiences in front of a jury. The new law will make it much more difficult for suspects to claim they were coerced, and police will be prevented from using overly-aggressive interrogation methods that may lead to a false confession. Overall, this new law provides for accountability on both sides of the table, and many lawmakers consider it to be a win-win step for both defendants and law enforcement officials.

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