CITY HALL — A City Council committee moved Thursday to allow museums to possess and display guns.
Ald. Edward Burke (14th), sponsor of the measure, said he was "amazed" museums were prohibited from keeping and displaying guns, especially when antique firearms were concerned.
Burke said the Pritzker Military Library, 104 S. Michigan Ave., was unable to display the German Walther PP donated by Maj. Gen. William Levine, an Army intelligence officer who was present at the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp, one of the most notorious Holocaust sites.
"We want to display Gen. Levine's Walther PP," said Kat Latham, director of collections management at the Pritzker library. "The PP is integral to that particular story."
The gun and various papers and memorabilia were donated to the museum after Levine's death earlier this year at his home in Highland Park.
Burke's ordinance would establish a new license allowing museums to display guns classified as "curios or relics."
Yet, it also calls on museums to obtain a federal firearm's collector's license and liability insurance, and to develop a safety plan, including installation of an alarm system. All those handling the guns would also be required to have a state Firearm Owner's Identification card.
"It's not a big deal," Latham said of the added requirements. "We already have FOID cards. ... It won't affect us in any way."
Latham said Levine's gun and other guns the museum owns are now kept outside the city limits in Lombard.
Burke's measure passed the Public Safety Committee Thursday morning without opposition and is headed for a vote before the full City Council later this month.