12/12/2011 05:30 pm ET

Chicago City Council To Vote On Stiff New Fine For Gun Offenders Caught Near Schools, Parks

A measure pinning a new $3,000 fine on individuals caught with guns within 500 feet of Chicago schools and parks was approved last week by a City Council committee and could be approved as city law Wednesday.

The measure, proposed by Ald. Ariel Reboyras, 30th, will also increase fines, currently ranging between $100 and $500 plus up to six months worth of jail time, for those found to be loitering near schools for drug- or gang-related reasons, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Reboyras explained, as reported by WBEZ, that the fines are intended to "protect the children and deter gangs and drugs and weapons offenses on or near school or park property."

The additional fine accompanies the many increased fines and fees proposed as part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's budget, which was unanimously approved by the City Council last month.

As part of that budget, the city also OKed the use of red-light cameras that would automatically record and issue tickets for speeding infractions within one-eighth of a mile -- 660 feet -- of schools and parks. That plan was approved by the state legislature and is expected to be signed by Gov. Pat Quinn soon.

A measure was approved last week by the Chicago City Council's Public Safety Committee and is slated for a full council vote Wednesday.

Photo by ttarasiuk via Flickr.