Firearms offenses, methamphetamine arrests on the rise in Kane County

  • Kane County State's Attorney Joe McMahon

    Kane County State's Attorney Joe McMahon

Updated 2/12/2020 1:40 PM

Kane County prosecutors will continue aggressive prosecution of firearms offenses, which have increased since 2017, and officials are also keeping tabs on a rise in methamphetamine arrests.

These were two observations State's Attorney Joe McMahon made this week during his monthly media meeting.


"We've tried to take an aggressive approach, meaning that if somebody is charged with a gun crime and it's a mandatory prison sentence, those cases, for the most part, are not being reduced (to misdemeanors) and those people are going to prison," McMahon said.

In 2017, prosecutors filed 116 cases for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, which is when a defendant has a loaded gun outside of a home or business without a concealed carry permit.

Kane County prosecutors charged 121 cases in 2018 and 128 cases in 2019, according to McMahon's office's annual report.

In 2017 and 2018, prosecutors charged 64 cases of unlawful possession without a Firearm Owner's Identification card. That number rose to 69 in 2019, according to the annual report.

McMahon said a person possessing a gun in certain situations, such as a drug deal or a domestic dispute, could escalate an already tense situation with potentially deadly results.

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"Guns -- they compound everything," he said.

Gang members convicted of possession a firearm can face a prison term of up to seven years; felons cannot possess a firearm and are subject to up to five years in prison if convicted of having a gun.

McMahon said authorities are still seeing a "significant presence" of cocaine and heroin in the area, but have noticed a rise in methamphetamine arrests in the last 18 to 24 months and they now account for 5% of all drug arrests.

"Historically, we did not see a lot of meth in the area. It was a drug more prevalent in rural areas. It can be very inexpensive to manufacture," McMahon said, adding meth can be cheaper than other drugs, including marijuana.

"I don't think here it's a cost issue," he said. "It's a product the cartels are pushing."

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