CHICAGO — The mayor promised Thursday to prepare new citywide gun-control legislation ahead of next week's City Council meeting, but offered no specifics.
"Waiting is not a strong suit of mine," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel when asked at a news conference about the fate of gun control in Congress and the General Assembly. "In this coming-up City Council, I will be also introducing new gun legislation for our city, because I will not rest when it comes to protecting our neighborhoods, our communities, our children and the residents of the City of Chicago."
Emanuel declined to specify what exactly the ordinance would address. He and police Superintendent Garry McCarthy have recently discussed bans on assault weapons and high-capacity gun clips, as well as more extensive background checks for all gun purchases, requirement to register all gun transactions and tougher penalties for possession of an illegal firearm.
Yet Ald. Patrick O'Connor (40th) suggested it was largely intended to replace the Daley administration's citywide ban on guns that was shot down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010.
"They're looking at court cases across the country," O'Connor said of those crafting the legislation. "Based on what we've done and researched, the ordinance will stand muster. ... It's nuanced pretty well."
O'Connor, however, also declined to offer specifics.
The gun lobby would certainly fight any new ordinance. Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association, posted a message last week opposing gun control in Springfield and promising to fight "these bills and any other anti-gun activity."
"The mayor's going after the wrong people," Pearson said Thursday. "He's going after the legitimate gun owner when he ought to go after the criminal." He added that he'd be monitoring next week's proposal and promised legal action against anything restricting legal gun ownership.
"I don't think it's about beating the gun lobby," Emanuel said. "I think it's about putting together sensible, common-sense legislation."
"Anything you introduce is going to be a challenge," O'Connor added. "So if you concede that and then say we're going to stop introducing ordinances, then I think the gun lobby has won."
Both Emanuel and O'Connor said the city ordinance would be intended to complement any new federal or state gun-control legislation. "It doesn't mean Springfield gets a pass or Washington gets a pass," Emanuel said. "They too have to step up an do their job.
"I hope it will be a spur to action from Springfield," he added.
"They could cover this territory and save a lot of time and energy," O'Connor said.
They made the remarks at an event announcing the citywide expansion of the "Teacher in the Library" after-school program to all neighborhood branches. The news conference took place at the Budlong Woods Branch in Arcadia Terrace.