LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- If a convicted felon in Kentucky is caught with a gun, the punishment is about to become more severe.

A new law increases penalties by making repeat gun crimes a more serious felony. Criminals could serve an additional year to five years in prison, depending on what a judge decides.

Kentucky Senate Majority Caucus Chair Dan Seum, who sponsored the legislation, said the law will help make everyone safer by preventing criminals from committing more crimes.

Last year, LMPD took about 1,900 guns off the street citywide. Mayor Greg Fischer said violent gun crime is decreasing and believes the new law will help even more.

"We're on a 10-month decrease now as it relates to homicides," Fischer sad. "Overall violent crime in Louisville is down 8.5 percent. Shootings are down 15 percent, and homicides are down 31 percent."

Maj. Billy Hibbs said LMPD's Ninth Mobile Division alone has seen a lot of repeat gun offenders.

"Last year, we seized 635 guns, and 51 percent of those weapons were on convicted felons," Hibbs said.

LMPD Chief Steve Conrad said the law will give the justice system a new way to fight back.

"This law gives prosecutors a way to hold these repeat criminals accountable," Conrad said.

The law goes into effect on July 14.

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