CITY HALL — Aiming to beat a deadline brought on by the state's new concealed-carry law, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has called a special City Council meeting for next week to address a pair of gun-control ordinances.
Gov. Pat Quinn signed a greatly amended concealed-carry law last week, but the General Assembly may override his changes, and in fact did so Tuesday. Regardless, the city needs to beat an impending deadline by passing local gun-control legislation within 10 days of adoption. Emanuel has set July 17 as an extra council session, in addition to the regularly scheduled meeting on July 24.
Emanuel already prepared for swift passage by introducing a pair of gun-control ordinances at the June City Council meeting. One would set strict penalties for possession of a weapon near schools and along "safe-passage" routes from a closing school to a so-called welcoming school beginning in the fall. The other would reimpose a ban on assault weapons in Chicago.
"The state has given us a deadline to pass a new assault-weapon ban, and next week I will call a special session to make sure we get it done," Emanuel said. "These dangerous weapons can wreak havoc in a matter of minutes, as we have seen too often on our streets. They have no place in our city, and we'll do whatever is necessary to make sure we have a strong law in place."
Emanuel was even more forceful on the issue at a Tuesday news conference in the Back of the Yards, calling gun control "the weak link in the chain of public safety."
He made it clear he is no fan of concealed carry, saying, "I thought Illinois was right by being the last state not to adopt concealed carry.
"Having effective gun control is essential to providing safety throughout the city," Emanuel said. "They tried to create a bill that represented the whole state. I think it's essential that we make sure that everybody understands that Chicago is different than downstate, and we got a stark reminder of that this weekend."
In addition to the city proposals to be taken up next week, Emanuel renewed calls for the General Assembly to pass mandatory minimum sentences for gun crimes and comprehensive background checks for all gun purchases.
Ald. James Balcer (11th), chairman of the Committee on Public Safety, said he would schedule a meeting next week ahead of the special council session to prepare the proposals for passage.