On Wednesday, June 25, 2014 the Chicago City Council unanimously passed the Responsible Sale of Firearms Ordinance to help prevent gun trafficking. The 48-0 vote comes in advance of a federal court-ordered July 14 deadline to allow gun shops in the city.
If we must have gun sales in Chicago, then this ordinance is the type of tough, common-sense legislation that we need. That is why we signed-on to a letter of support for this ordinance, spearheaded by the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence and sent to the City Council.
Illegal handguns flow into our communities, despite current state and federal regulations preventing people with felony records from purchasing handguns. In Chicago, the majority of gun violence victims are shot by an illegal firearm often obtained from “straw purchasers” who buy and sell weapons on behalf of someone else, generally someone not authorized to buy weapons.
The Responsible Sale of Firearms Ordinance is a collection of best practices from around the country to fight straw purchases. For example, the ordinance subjects gun shops to strict monitoring, including video surveillance, and it requires employees to complete training to identify potential gun traffickers. Gun shops will not be allowed within 500 feet of a park or school, limiting them to 0.5% of the city. In addition, gun shops will be able to sell only one gun per month per buyer after a 72-hour waiting period to purchase handguns, and a 24-hour waiting period to purchase rifles and shotguns.
Last year we successfully advocated for common-sense anti-gun trafficking legislation at the state level. The Gun Safety and Responsibility Act, signed into law on August 19, 2013, closed the loophole on background checks and required the reporting of lost or stolen firearms to law enforcement. The Responsible Sale of Firearms Ordinance is another step in the overall effort to make our communities safer.
In addition, our Reclaim Campaign to re-build relationships, repair harm, and reduce violence continues to gain momentum as we call upon Cook County to invest in restorative justice peace hubs for youth and adults that will be funded, in part, with resources generated by the reduction of the population in Cook County Jail.