Chicago Council Passes Ordinance Banning Gun Stores From Most Of City

New restrictions on retailers require employee fingerprinting, videotaping gun sales and special training to spot "straw purchasers."
Chicago Council Passes Ordinance Banning Gun Stores From Most Of City

Despite a court order mandating the city allow gun stores, the Chicago city council overwhelmingly passed a new ordinance that would ban firearms retailers from most of the city and force retailers to videotape all sales.

The new law, passed by a 48-0 vote Tuesday, is Democrat Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s answer to a federal ruling early this year that declared Chicago’s ban on handgun sales unconstitutional. Emanuel claims the new restrictions on sales will cut down on the number of so-called “straw purchases” in which a legal gun owner buys a firearm for another person who may be restricted from gun ownership.

“If it was up to me as the person who helped establish the Brady bill, the five-day waiting period and the assault weapons ban, I wouldn’t take this step,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said after the 48-to-0 vote, according to the Chicago Tribune.

“But given that we’re under court order, we decided we’d take the six months to come up with a way of designing an ordinance that meets the judge’s requirements, but also does not undermine public safety.”

City leaders claim nearly 20 percent of firearms used in crimes committed in Chicago were legally purchased outside the city, according to the Los Angeles Times. The new ordinances would require gun stores — which are banned from 99.5 percent of the city — to video tape all sales, conduct background checks on employees and force gun buyers to wait 30 days before purchasing another firearm.

Pro-gun advocates say the ordinance adds up to a virtual ban on gun retailers.

“The license is $3,800. Your business transactions are videotaped. The costs are so high, nobody can possibly make a living doing that, so no one is going to do it,” Richard Pearson, director of the Illinois State Rifle Association, told The Tribune. “It’s just a bunch of restrictions designed to make sure no gun shop opens in Chicago.”

Despite some of the nation’s most restrictive gun laws, Chicago has one of the nation’s highest murder rates, with 440 homicides in 2013 and 174 so far this year, according to The Tribune. It is unclear how many of those were gun related.

"Nothing that the City Council has on the books is going to stop illegal gun use, and I don’t know when the good citizens of Chicago are going to understand this," Don Haworth, owner of Chicagoland Firearms Training, told the L.A. Times. "We can pass every law in the world, but every law will not prevent the type of shootings that are occurring."


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