July 3, 2010 in Nation/World

Chicago passes tough new restrictions on handguns

Ordinance comes swiftly after Supreme Court ruling
Don Babwin Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley leads a special City Council meeting Friday to craft a new handgun ordinance.
(Full-size photo)

CHICAGO – The Chicago City Council on Friday approved what city officials say is the strictest handgun ordinance in the nation, but not before lashing out at the Supreme Court ruling 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 Americans have the right to have handguns anywhere for self-defense – a ruling that makes the city’s 28-year-old 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, before the council voted 45-0 to approve the ordinance.

It was swift action for a council that typically takes far longer to pass ordinances, but Mayor Richard Daley – who promised the city would not “roll over” if the court ruled against the city’s handgun ban – clearly wanted to give police a law they could begin enforcing as quickly as possible.

“You have to get the tools to the police,” Daley said.

Gun rights opponents quickly criticized 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 lobbyist with the National Rifle Association in Illinois.

Vandermyde would not say when lawsuits might be filed. But he said the ordinance would be attacked on a number of fronts.

The ordinance also:

• Limits the number of handguns residents can register to one per month and prohibits 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 and requires residents convicted of a gun offense to register with the police department.

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

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

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