Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Mayor Rahm Emanuel's Gun Store Ordinance Far Stricter Than What Public Wants

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposal to keep gun stores out of most of Chicago is far more restrictive than what the public supports, a gun industry lobbyist said Monday.

Whitney O’Daniel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation pointed to an April survey — which the foundation commissioned — of registered Chicago voters that showed 69 percent supported regulating gun stores under the same zoning laws that cover other age-regulated businesses like liquor stores.

The McKeon & Associates Mayor Rahm Emanuel's Gun Store Ordinance Far Stricter Than What Public Wants with Tractor Supply Company Hunting Gearpoll had an error margin of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

“Let the market decide how many gun stores people will support in the city,” said O’Daniel, who is also the executive director of the Illinois Association of Firearm Retailers.

Emanuel’s proposed ordinance would keep gun stores at least 500 feet away from parks and schools, barring them from 99.5 percent of the city, according to city officials.

In January, U.S. District Judge Edmond Chang overturned Chicago’s ban on gun stores in a lawsuit brought by the Illinois Association of Firearms Retailers and three Chicago gun owners. Chang gave the city until mid-July to impose regulations on gun stores.

Last week, the Emanuel administration proposed a far-reaching ordinance that would require gun stores to videotape purchases to deter customers from buying guns for crooks. Stores would have to maintain a log of gun sales in which a firearm was later recovered in a crime. That would help employees identify potential gun traffickers, according to city officials.

O’Daniel said the groups he represents aren’t opposed to stores introducing “best practices” like videotaping sales.

He said the National Shooting Sports Foundation spent $800,000 this year on Chicago billboards with the message, “Don’t Lie for the Other Guy,” referring to “straw purchasers” who legally buy guns they give to criminals. “We don’t want anyone to have illegal firearms or participate in the sale of illegal firearms,” O’Daniel said. But safeguards like videotaping gun sales should be voluntary, not mandatory, he said.

O’Daniel also said some parts of the proposed ordinance appear unworkable. For example, the government can’t provide stores with the names of people who buy guns later used in crimes, he said. “It’s a little premature to say we will go back and challenge this in court,” O’Daniel said of the proposed ordinance. “But we will certainly look at this closely. We are willing to work with the aldermen on this.”

South Side Ald. Howard Brookins (21st) has already warned that the ordinance invites another potentially costly court battle.

The other plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the city include gun owners Michael Hall, Kathryn Tyler and her husband Kenneth Pacholski. None has expressed an interest in selling guns, but they have said the Chicago ban on gun stores was unreasonable.

In 2010, Hall was a telecommunications consultant and part-time high school basketball referee who owned a shotgun, a rifle and a 9mm pistol he bought for protection after his Morgan Park home was burglarized, according to a deposition he gave to the city.

Pacholski owned 18 guns, including 13 rifles, three shotguns, a revolver and a semiautomatic pistol, according to his deposition. He said he carried a gun from his bedroom to his basement for protection in their West Rogers Park home.

Tyler, a veterinarian, owned a 9mm handgun, according to her deposition. A city attorney asked her whether the ban on gun stores prevented her from buying firearms, and she answered no. But “if guns are legal, then we should be able to buy guns wherever we want to buy guns and people should be able to sell them wherever they want to sell them,” Tyler said.

Emanuel administration officials say tough regulations are needed to help stores identify straw purchasers and prevent thieves from stealing guns from stores.

Chicago’s proposed ordinance would require the stores to submit a safety plan outlining exterior lighting, surveillance cameras and alarm systems, as well as storage of guns and ammunition. Employees would have to undergo fingerprinting, background checks and training on identifying potential gun traffickers.

Emanuel is also proposing that Chicago gun stores could sell only one handgun a month to a buyer. If the city revoked a store’s business license for violating the ordinance, it could not reopen at the same location for three years.

Thanks to Frank Main.

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