Gov. Bruce Rauner said the death penalty should return in Illinois for "mass murderers and those who kill law enforcement officers."
In a Monday morning press conference in Chicago, Rauner said the death penalty should return for certain offenders. Former Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill in 2011 ending capital punishment for all offenders. Former Gov. George Ryan, a Republican, started a moratorium on the death penalty in 2000.
“Few crimes are more heinous than purposeful killings of children and peacekeepers,” Rauner said. “We didn’t propose the death penalty lightly. We had to balance the need for safety and, in the end, we wanted to make it abundantly clear we have no tolerance for such atrocities in Illinois.”
Under the proposal, death penalty murder suspects would have to be found guilty "beyond all doubt," a higher threshold than "beyond a reasonable doubt."
“I believe that reinstating society’s most serious penalty for the most serious of violent crimes, with the proper safeguards, is an appropriate response to the horrific violence we have witnessed far too often in recent times," said Senate Minority Leader Bill Brady (R-Bloomington). "The governor’s action today recognizes the need for a multipronged approached to dealing with deadly assaults. As part of that, those who choose to murder innocent victims in mass attacks or kill law enforcement officers should know they face the severest of sentences.”
The governor has used his amendatory veto power on House Bill 1468 to introduce a 72-hour waiting period for all gun purchases. Currently, there is a waiting period for handguns. The governor also proposed a ban on bump stocks and trigger cranks,
The governor's public safety package would also authorize 14 restraining orders on guns to "help disarm people who are a danger to the public and themselves" with probable cause. A six-month prohibition on gun possession could be obtained only through a full hearing based on "convincing evidence of danger."
Prosecutors and judges would also be required to clearly state the rationale for any plea agreements, especially those for "habitual" gun offenders.
“We deserve to know how violent offenders are allowed back on our streets,” Rauner said.
The bill would also let schools used money from the County Schools Facilities Sales Tax state statute to hire school resource officers or mental health workers. The package also calls for more interstate gun trafficking countermeasures, increased state trooper deployments, and additional threat precautions for Illinois schools.
"Too often lawmakers react in haste, feeling the need to do something as is the case of the five gun control bills currently at various stages in the Illinois General Assembly. Using his Amendatory Veto powers, the governor wisely narrowed the General Assembly’s over-reaching gun control bills thereby protecting gun owner rights while also protecting us from the actions of bad actors. I applaud the governor’s thoughtful approach," said state Sen. Chuck Weaver (R-Peoria).
It is now up to the legislature to reject or approve the governor's amendatory veto.
Today, we proposed the death penalty for mass murderers and those who kill law enforcement officers. Shows we have no tolerance for such atrocities in our state. #PublicSafetyIL pic.twitter.com/JWz9TNapYF— Governor Rauner (@GovRauner) May 14, 2018
“Death penalty murder” is part of precedent-setting public safety plan that extends 72-hour waiting period on purchases of ALL guns and bans bump stocks and trigger cranks. #PublicSafetyIL— Governor Rauner (@GovRauner) May 14, 2018
Plan authorizes gun violence restraining orders to help disarm people who are a danger to the public and themselves. Requires clear and convincing evidence for 6-month prohibitions on possession. #PublicSafetyIL— Governor Rauner (@GovRauner) May 14, 2018
Public needs to know why gun offenders are allowed back on the streets. Our plan is to make judges and prosecutors put on the record why charges are reduced in plea agreements in gun cases. It is much needed transparency. #PublicSafetyIL— Governor Rauner (@GovRauner) May 14, 2018