CITY HALL — Attempting to beat a court-imposed deadline, the city is preparing what the mayor's office calls "one of the toughest, smartest licensing laws in the country" to allow gun shops in Chicago.
According to Chicago Police Department spokesman Adam Collins, the new ordinance is still being drafted by police officials and Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration. But it is expected to be submitted at Wednesday's City Council meeting.
Although details were still being ironed out, the ordinance was expected to ban gun shops within 500 feet of a school or park, which would serve to limit them primarily to industrial areas on the city's fringe. It would also call for background checks for employees and require theft-prevention safety plans, video cameras to monitor sales and a log of all gun sales. Those records would be subject to reasonable police inspection.
There would be a 72-hour waiting period to buy a handgun in the city, 24 hours for rifles, and a shop would be able to sell just one gun a month to any individual buyer.
The city's ban on gun shops was struck down in January by a federal judge in a ruling Emanuel called a "straitjacket." Still, saying he was "not interested in the purpose of litigation for litigation," Emanuel pressed for a six-month delay in lifting that ban so the city could draft a new law. The new ordinance would therefore be cleared for passage before the July deadline.
Emanuel's Press Office primed the debate Tuesday by releasing a new study on guns in the city prepared with the help of the University of Chicago Crime Lab. "Tracing the Guns: The Impact of Illegal Guns on Violence in Chicago" echoed statements made by Emanuel and Police Supt. Garry McCarthy blaming the ready availability of guns for the city's street-violence problems.
The study found that Chicago Police confiscated 7,624 guns in 2012, more than twice as many as Los Angeles and seven times the rate per capita of New York City.
The study added that almost 60 percent of the guns used to commit a crime in Chicago between 2009 and 2013 were first purchased in states like Indiana, Wisconsin and Mississippi with less-regulatory gun laws not requiring background checks for sales at gun shows or over the Internet.
At the same time, the study determined that more than 3,000 guns — or almost 20 percent of all guns recovered from crime scenes in Chicago — were sold by just four local dealers: three in Cook County, including Chuck’s in Riverdale, Midwest Sporting Goods in Lyons, and Shore Galleries in Lincolnwood, along with Westforth Sports in Gary, Ind.
"This report shows the extent to which illegal guns are the leading factor in driving violence, the sources of those guns, and simple, reasonable steps we can take to curb the flow of illegal guns onto our streets," Emanuel said in a statement. "The findings in this report demand action from each and every one of us."
Gun advocates were reported to be waiting for the release of the actual ordinance to weigh in, and the Illinois State Rifle Association did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
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