Despite court ruling, Chicago council OKs new gun restrictions
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.
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.