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Mayor Daley Lays Out Strict Gun Rules for Chicago

CHICAGO -- With the city's gun ban certain to be overturned, Mayor Richard Daley on Thursday introduced what city officials say is the strictest handgun ordinance in the United States.

The measure, which draws from ordinances around the country, would ban gun shops in Chicago and prohibit gun owners from stepping outside their homes, even onto their porches or garages, with a handgun.

Daley announced his ordinance at a park on the city's South Side three days after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Americans have a right to own a gun for self-defense anywhere they live. The City Council is expected to vote on it Friday.

"As long as I'm mayor, we will never give up or give in to gun violence that continues to threaten every part of our nation, including Chicago," said Daley, who was flanked by activists, city officials and the parents of a teenager whose son was shot and killed on a city bus while shielding a friend.

The ordinance, which Daley urged the City Council to pass, also would :
-- Limit the number of handguns residents can register to one per month and prohibit residents from having more than one handgun in operating order at any given time.
-- Require residents in homes with children to keep them in lock boxes or equipped with trigger locks.
-- Require prospective gun owners to take a four-hour class and one-hour training at a gun range. They would have to leave the city for training because Chicago prohibits new gun ranges and limits the use of existing ranges to police officers. Those restrictions were similar to those in an ordinance passed in Washington, D.C., after the high court struck down its ban two years ago.
-- Prohibit 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. Residents convicted of a gun offense would have to register with the police department.
-- Calls for the police department to maintain a registry of every handgun owner in the city, with the names and addresses to be made available to police officers, firefighters and other emergency responders.

Those who already have handguns in the city -- which has been illegal since the city's ban was approved 28 years ago -- would have 90 days to register those weapons, according to the proposed ordinance.

Residents convicted of violating the city's ordinance can face a fine up to $5,000 and be locked up for as long as 90 days for a first offense and a fine of up to $10,000 and as long as six months behind bars for subsequent convictions.

"We've gone farther than anyone else ever has," said Corporation Counsel Mara Georges.
Still, the mayor, whose office is trying to craft an ordinance that will withstand legal challenges, had to back off some provisions he'd hoped to include, including requiring gun owners to insure their weapons and restricting each resident to one handgun.

Georges said it would be expensive for homeowners to include guns on their homeowners' and renters' insurance policies, so such a requirement could be seen as being discriminatory to the city's poorer residents. Limiting the number of handguns could be seen as discriminatory to people who owned weapons before the city's ban went into effect in 1982 or before they moved into the city.

"We can limit the place in which those handguns can be located," she said, before adding a not-so-veiled swipe at the court: "For instance, the Supreme court does not want them coming into the courthouse."

Still, Daley indicated that no matter what was included in the ordinance, he expects legal challenges.

"Everybody has a right to sue," he said.

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