EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) - A federal judge from Peoria will preside over the trial of a former St. Clair County judge accused of drugs and weapons violations.
U.S. District Court Judge Joe Billy McDade was named to preside over the case of Michael Cook, who has pleaded not guilty to possessing heroin and having a gun while illegally using controlled substances.
Chief Judge David Herndon of the Southern District of Illinois was initially assigned the case. However, he and other federal judges in the district recused themselves.
Cook resigned his judgeship and agreed to attend a drug rehabilitation center in Minnesota and to the suspension of his law license. He was released without being required to post cash.
Investigators say Cook was with Judge Joe Christ when Christ died from a cocaine overdose.
CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois gun owners who fail to report the theft or loss of a weapon will face tougher restrictions under a new law signed by Gov. Pat Quinn.
The law beefs up background checks and requires firearm thefts or losses to be reported within 72 hours.
Quinn signed the bill Sunday at a South Side Chicago park where police officer was fatally shot in 2010. The Chicago Democrat says the restrictions are common sense and will help crack down on crime.
Democrats State Sen. Kwame Raoul and state Rep. Mike Zalewski sponsored the bill. It's also supported by Chicago Police Chief Garry McCarthy.
The requirement to report thefts goes into effect immediately. The background check changes start next year.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois Senate President John Cullerton is meeting with key lawmakers to attempt a compromise on legislation allowing people to carry concealed guns.
Spokeswoman Rikeesha Phelon says Cullerton met earlier Wednesday with Senate and House members who have rival, but similar, measures.
Phelon says there are "core compromises" that can be made to create an acceptable plan.
A top Senate committee voted Tuesday to reject a House-approved version that not only allows the public possession of weapons but invalidates all local ordinances on firearms, such as Chicago's assault-weapons ban.
The same committee advanced a plan by Senate Democrats that excludes the pre-emption of local laws and includes tighter restrictions on carrying guns while drinking alcohol.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. • The Illinois Senate Executive Committee defeated legislation allowing the public possession of firearms, a bill that just last week passed the House 85-30.
The Democratic-controlled committee voted 6-8 on Tuesday. Opponents objected to the plan sponsored by Democratic Sen. Gary Forby of Benton, saying it'd curb all local firearms ordinances.
Committee Chairman Don Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat, says such pre-emption is "a bridge too far."
The committee's taking up a Democratic measure that leaves local firearms regulations in place — city ordinances such as Chicago's assault-weapons ban.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois legislation allowing public possession of concealed guns has passed the House Judiciary Committee. It was a compromise backed by Speaker Michael Madigan.
The measure was endorsed Thursday 13-3 and goes to the full House Friday. It comes two weeks before a June 9 deadline set by a federal appeals court for Illinois to abandon its prohibition on the public possession of weapons.
The legislation would require the Illinois State Police to issue concealed carry permits to qualified gun owners. It's patterned on a bill introduced by gun-rights advocate Rep. Brandon Phelps, a southern Illinois Democrat.
But Madigan's version significantly adds places that would be off limits to guns. Those include mass transit - a must for violence-weary Chicago Democrats.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The House Intelligence Committee chairman says Syria's suspected use of chemical weapons against its own people is troubling but adds that he is also worried about those weapons falling into the wrong hands after President Bashar Assad is driven from power.
Republican Rep. Mike Rogers on Sunday said the United States needs to worry about the region's stability and U.S. credibility. He says other countries such as North Korea and Iran are watching how the United States responds to intelligence suggesting Syria probably has used sarin gas.
Democratic Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois says the United States needs to be careful, because it previously pushed war with Iraq based on faulty intelligence suggesting that nation had weapons of mass destruction.
Both spoke on ABC's "This Week."
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - State employees could keep firearms in their vehicles on state property under a bill heard by a Missouri Senate committee.
The measure considered Tuesday by the Senate General Laws Committee would allow those employees to have a firearm in their car if it is locked and the gun is not visible.
The legislation would also increase penalties for convicted felons who use an illegal firearm while committing another crime. But the committee's chairman, Republican Sen. Brian Nieves, said he wants to take that provision out of the bill.
The House has already passed the measure, and Nieves said he wanted the Senate committee vote on it Wednesday.
The sixth grade suspect had allegedly used the weapon to terrorize several students over the past few days, even pointing it at some and making threats.
Two students spoke with Fox 2 news about their ordeals. A third grader said he thought he was going to die, "He came out of nowhere with a gun. He had put it to my head." The boy says the sixth grader pulled the trigger, but the gun clip fell out.
The victim's fourth grade cousin says the suspect threatened to shoot anyone who told on him. "I didn't tell nobody because I was scared to," the boy said. "I thought he was fixing to shoot me."
District spokesman Patrick Wallace acknowledged that a gun had been found at the school, but says the district can't comment because it involved a juvenile and it's still being investigated. Wallace did say the school is now reevaluating security.