SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Senate has approved tougher sentences for repeat gun offenders aimed at reducing violence on Chicago’s streets.

The Senate voted 35-9 Thursday for Chicago Democratic Sen. Kwame Raoul’s proposal. It would encourage judges to impose longer prison sentences within existing guidelines for gun crimes committed by those who have firearm violence on their records.

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Chicago recorded more homicides last year than New York City and Los Angeles combined.

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Critics claim the measure would lock up more minorities when the state should concentrate on creating jobs and opportunity for impoverished neighborhoods.

Raoul countered it would apply to people facing sentencing anyway. Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson told a Senate committee in March that criminals tell him they don’t fear the state’s judicial system.

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