Gov. Bruce Rauner today called for the reinstatement of the death penalty for individuals convicted of mass shootings or the fatal shooting of a police officer.
His call came in his written amendatory veto of House Bill 1468, which requires a 72-hour waiting period before the purchase of an assault weapon. The governor introduces a new burden of proof — "beyond all doubt" — as opposed to the current "beyond a reasonable doubt" — for those individuals charged with the fatal shooting of a law enforcement officer or a group of people. His full amendatory veto message may be found here.
The death penalty in Illinois was abolished in 2011, following a moratorium placed on the final sentence in 2000 by then Gov. George Ryan, a Republican. The Catholic Conference actively supported the ban of the death penalty, issuing a statement when Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn signed Senate Bill 3539 into law.
The Catholic Conference today issued the following statement in response to the governor's actions, or click here for a PDF version:
We are distressed and alarmed by Gov. Bruce Rauner’s call for the reinstatement of the death penalty in any way, shape or form. His call to put to death individuals convicted of mass shootings or the fatal shooting of a law enforcement officer under proof of “beyond all doubt” instead of “beyond a reasonable doubt” is simply parsing words. You cannot teach killing is wrong by killing. We are all God’s children, and our first – and primary – right to life must always be protected and unconditional.