Pardoned former gang member Wallace "Gator" Bradley told aldermen today he wants the right to own a handgun, even though he once had felony convictions on his record.
Bradley, who in recent decades has set up shop as a self-professed “urban translator” for various groups seeking an edge at
““I’m going to file for the application,” Bradley said. “I’m going to try to get one of those cards. . . . My pardon is just as good as (27th Ward Ald.)
"I'm trying to remain a law-abiding citizen, and I want all my rights as a law-abiding citizen," Bradley added.
The unusual question arose as the City Council Public Safety Committee recommended small changes to city laws regulating shooting ranges in the city.
“They were tweaks, because of a court action,” said Ald.
Shooting ranges once were outlawed in Chicago but federal court rulings forced the city to allow them. The city did that in July 2011, but only in industrial areas under very tight restrictions being challenged in federal court.
"If we are going to have shooting ranges, it is a position of the city that the better trained a person is on firearms the safer it is," city attorney M. Rose Kelly said. "We require it as part of our (Chicago Firearms Permit) that you have training. So this facilitates that training."
The changes were endorsed as Emanuel was at an unrelated event telling reporters that he is drafting new city gun-control legislation. The mayor did not offer specifics.
Under the changes endorsed by the committee and set for a full council vote next week, a shooting range operator would be able to provide a gun to a patron so they can "experience . . . shooting different types of firearms to determine which is best suited for that patron's use," Kelly said.
The changes also would allow patrons who have city firearm permits to use each others' guns, shooting ranges to store and repair weapons and out-of-state firms to open ranges if they don't have permits, provided employees working there do.
And out-of-state experts brought in to train Chicago cops would not have to obtain permits, while the distance between ranges would be reduced to 100 feet from 500 feet, under the changes.
"These are very expensive to build," Kelly said, "You are not going to see a lot of proliferation of them right next to each other."
City officials later said that one party started the application process to build a shooting range last October but gave up and never filed it. There still are no shooting ranges in the city.