De­spite court rul­ing, Chicago coun­cil OKs new gun re­stric­tions

Austin American-Statesman - - SATURDAYBRIEFING - By Don Babwin

CHICAGO — The Chicago City Coun­cil ap­proved Fri­day what city of­fi­cials say is the strictest hand­gun or­di­nance in the nation, but not be­fore lash­ing out at a Supreme Court rul­ing that they con­tend makes the city more dan­ger­ous be­cause it will put more guns in peo­ple’s hands.

The new or­di­nance bans gun shops in Chicago and pro­hibits gun own­ers from step­ping out­side their homes, even onto their porches or in their garages, with a hand­gun. It be­comes law in 10 days, Cor­po­ra­tion Coun­sel Mara Ge­orges said.

The vote comes just four days af­ter the high court ruled that Amer­i­cans have the right to have hand­guns any­where for self-de­fense — a rul­ing that makes the city’s 28-yearold ban on such weapons un­en­force­able.

“I wish that we weren’t in the po­si­tion where we’re strug­gling to fig­ure out a way in which we can limit the guns on our streets and still meet the test that our Supreme Court has set for us,” said Al­der­man Toni Preck­win­kle, min­utes be­fore the coun­cil voted 45-0 to ap­prove the or­di­nance.

Even though the hand­gun ban re­mains in ef­fect un­til it is struck down by an ap­pel­late court, Ge­orges said it was im­por­tant to pass a new law to clear up con­fu­sion that Chicagoans might have about what kind of weapons they can legally own and how they can use them. The or­di­nance also:

• Lim­its the num­ber of hand­guns res­i­dents can reg­is­ter to one a month and bars res­i­dents from hav­ing more than one hand­gun in op­er­at­ing or­der at any given time.

• Re­quires res­i­dents in homes with chil­dren to keep hand­guns in lock boxes or equipped with trig­ger locks.

• Re­quires res­i­dents con­victed of a gun of­fense to reg­is­ter with the po­lice depart­ment, much as sex of­fend­ers are re­quired to do.

• Pro­hibits peo­ple from own­ing a gun if they were con­victed of a vi­o­lent crime, do­mes­tic vi­o­lence or two or more con­vic­tions for drunken driv­ing.

• Re­quires prospec­tive gun own­ers to be fin­ger­printed, take a four-hour class and one­hour gun range train­ing.

• Calls for the po­lice depart­ment to main­tain a registry of ev­ery reg­is­tered hand­gun owner in the city, with the names and ad­dresses to be made avail­able to po­lice of­fi­cers, fire­fight­ers and other emer­gency re­spon­ders.

Some Chicago res­i­dents ap­plauded the plan.

“There’s just too much killing go­ing on — we need pro­tec­tion,” said Mary Fitts, a re­tiree who came from her home on the South Side to watch the vote. “You can’t even sit on your front porch.”

But gun rights sup­port­ers quickly crit­i­cized Mayor Richard Da­ley and the City Coun­cil and promised law­suits.

“The city wants to put as many hur­dles and as much red tape in the way of some­one who just wants to ex­er­cise their con­sti­tu­tional right to have a gun,” said Todd Van­dermyde, a Na­tional Ri­fle As­so­ci­a­tion lob­by­ist in Illi­nois.

Michael Tercha chicAgo tribune

Chicago po­lice of­fi­cer Ron Holt, whose 16-year-old son was shot to death on a city bus, talks with Al­der­man Vir­ginia Ru­gai be­fore the City Coun­cil passed a hand­gun or­di­nance Fri­day.

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