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Illinois Takes Action Against Guns in Schools

In response to the increase in school shootings in recent years, Illinois has enacted several laws designed to ensure the safety of our schoolchildren and to penalize gun-related crime in schools. In addition to these laws, the legislature has allocated over $14 million for the Safe to Learn program, which provides grants for school safety projects.

Under the new laws, a minor who is charged with aggravated battery with a firearm on or near school grounds is not entitled to be tried and sentenced according to juvenile court rules and procedures designed to best serve the safety and welfare of an accused minor. A minor who is at least 15 years of age at the time of the offense will be subject to the full force and effect of the Illinois Criminal Code. This law applies to offenses committed within 1,000 feet of the school, on school buses, or during school-related activities such as sports or social or academic events.

The new laws also increase the severity of crimes, such as selling guns or firing a gun at a person or into a building or a vehicle. These crimes now carry stiffer penalties as well.

School officials are required to notify the school principal if they observe a person in possession of a firearm on school grounds. The principal is then required to immediately notify the police. If the suspected person is a student, the student's parents must also be notified. If the suspect is a minor, the police are required to hold the minor until a delinquency determination is made.

As of June 1999, it is a crime to allow children access to a gun. Under the new law, if a person knowingly leaves a firearm where a minor under the age of 14 has access to it, that person will be penalized if the minor causes death or serious bodily harm with that firearm. A violation of this law is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine.

Although these are not drastic measures, they are appropriate incremental steps to deter firearms in schools.

This website is not intended to constitute legal advice or the provision of legal services. By posting and/or maintaining the website and its contents, Lucas Law does not intend to solicit business from clients located in states or jurisdictions outside of Illinois wherein Lucas Law or its individual attorney(s) are not licensed or authorized to practice law.

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