Chicago unanimously passes strict gun sale laws; sales to be recorded

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The Chicago City Council unanimously approved an ordinance Tuesday that would place strict limits on gun stores, forcing them to video-record sales and restrict gun buyers to one purchase a month in a city plagued with violence.

Pat Corcoran, a spokesman for the city clerk’s office, told the Los Angeles Times that the ordinance, proposed last month, passed 48-0. Two aldermen were absent.

The new ordinance, once signed by the mayor, replaces a citywide ban on gun sales that was ruled illegal by a federal judge in January.


The new legislation allows gun sales in only a small percentage of the city and will force gun shop employees to pass background checks and learn how to spot and stop “straw purchasers,” gun buyers who purchase weapons on behalf of someone else, generally someone who is ineligible to own a firearm.

The ordinance, a draft version of which can be viewed here, also bans sales at gun shows within the city limits.

Chicago has consistently been one of the country’s most violent cities, with an annual homicide total leaping from 431 in 2011 to 500 in 2012, according to Uniform Crime Reports. The city suffered 440 homicides in 2013, and has seen 174 killings already in 2014, according to the Chicago Tribune.

A report released by Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office last month said nearly 20% of the firearms used in city crimes were purchased from four gun shops just outside Chicago.

The ordinance drew sharp criticism from local gun rights advocates, many of whom have long bristled at the city’s ban on gun sales and were hoping to see the new legislation loosen those restrictions.

“Nothing that the City Council has on the books is going to stop illegal gun use, and I don’t know when the good citizens of Chicago are going to understand this,” said Don Haworth, owner of Chicagoland Detective Services and Chicagoland Firearms Training. “We can pass every law in the world, but every law will not prevent the type of shootings that are occurring.”


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