CITY HALL — A new city ordinance passed by a council committee Friday would ban guns from all licensed liquor establishments, both bars and restaurants.
"The City Council believes booze and bullets don't mix," said Ald. Edward Burke (14th), chairman of the Finance Committee and lead sponsor of the measure.
The concealed-carry law passed this summer by the General Assembly bans guns in bars, defined as businesses earning more than half their income from alcohol, and allows stores, bars and restaurants to ban guns on their own. But the proposed city ordinance would require those bars and restaurants licensed for liquor sales in Chicago to post signs banning guns.
"Licenses to serve alcoholic beverages are a privilege, not a right," Burke said.
Package liquor stores and supermarkets, which do not actually serve alcohol on site, would be exempt, as would caterers, as the ordinance focuses on licensed businesses with set locations.
Yet National Rifle Association Legislative Liaison Todd Vandermyde said the ordinance goes "beyond the scope" of local gun control allowed by the Firearm Concealed Carry Act passed by the state legislature and signed by Gov. Pat Quinn this summer.
"This issue about booze and bullets is a red herring," Vandermyde said, adding that it's about the right to carry a gun into a restaurant, as allowed by state law. He said that law already makes it illegal to carry a gun while intoxicated.
"You live in a totally different environment than we live in," said Ald. Deborah Graham (29th). "Our constituency wants to be safe."
"Frankly, I don't think the state law makes a great deal of sense," Burke said, citing the apparent hypocrisy of banning guns in a bar, but not in a restaurant where diners can get just as intoxicated. "Perhaps if we enact this the General Assembly will be moved to reconsider."
Vandermyde threatened a lawsuit should the measure be adopted by the full City Council Wednesday.
"Everybody sues today in America," Burke said. "That's what lawyers are for."