Northwestern Law School: Mandatory Minimums Will Not Reduce Gun Violence

Post Date: October 18, 2013

On October 17, Northwestern Law published a new paper, “Combating Gun Violence in Illinois: Evidence-Based Solutions”, that tackles the myths surrounding mandatory minimum sentences for gun offenses in Illinois, finding that despite their promise of a quick fix solution, “mandatory minimum sentences will not reduce gun violence.”  Write the authors in the introduction: 

“Although we are all deeply disturbed by gun violence – each death is another tragedy and a call for action – our responses must be smart, strategic and grounded in evidence-based solutions. The evidence indicates, repeatedly, that mandatory minimum sentences will not reduce gun violence. On the contrary, such restrictions are not only costly, but also counterproductive. 

“But there is good news: other approaches to reducing gun violence show great promise. Conducted outside of the criminal court process – in the real world, where effects are more concrete and immediate – these approaches have been proven to reduce risky behavior and violence, with significantly less damage to our justice and corrections systems as well as our social fabric. Together with targeted enforcement of existing Illinois laws that provide for harsh gun sentences where appropriate, these initiatives offer real solutions to gun violence.”  Click here to download the report.