Mayor Seeks To Tweak Gun Ordinance In Wake Of Court Ruling
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Updated 06/25/12 – 1:46 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) – Mayor Rahm Emanuel will seek to revise the city’s gun control ordinance, after a federal judge ruled part of the 2010 law is unconstitutional.
The mayor said he will introduce a revision to the gun ordinance at this week’s City Council meeting, permanently banning anyone with a violent felony conviction from getting a city gun permit. Anyone with a violent misdemeanor conviction would face a five-year ban.
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Last week, U.S. District Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan struck down a portion of the Chicago Firearm Ordinance that barred anyone convicted of “unlawful use of a weapon” from obtaining a city gun permit. He ruled that section was too vague and unfairly barred people with non-violent gun convictions from ever again owning a firearm in Chicago.
“The Chicago Firearm Ordinance basically provides that anyone convicted of a nonviolent misdemeanor offense relating to a firearm is forever barred from exercising his constitutional right to possess a firearm in his own home for self-defense,” Der-Yeghiayan wrote. “There is something incongruent about a non-violent person, who is not a felon, but who is convicted of a misdemeanor offense of simple possession of a firearm, being forever barred from exercising his constitutional right to defend himself in his own home in Chicago against felons or violent criminals.”
The judge also noted different states define “unlawful use of a weapon” differently; in some states, the crime includes simply carrying a gun in public, in others it includes only firing a weapon, or possessing one with the intent of doing harm.
Der-Yeghiayan ruled in favor of Chicago resident Shawn Gowder, who was denied a city gun permit because of a misdemeanor conviction for unlawful use of a weapon. The judge ruled Gowder’s Second Amendment right to bear arms was violated by being denied a gun permit for a non-violent misdemeanor conviction.
The mayor said the proposed revision to the gun ordinance would do away with the portion banning permits for anyone with a conviction for unlawful use of a weapon, but noted the ordinance is only part of the city’s anti-crime strategy.
“Having strong gun laws is complementary to putting more police on the street, which is also complementary to getting kids into after-school activities or summer camps … to also making sure that you lock up the hard criminals,” Emanuel said.
The existing gun ordinance was passed in 2010, after the U.S. Supreme Court tossed out Chicago’s ban on possessing handguns within city limits, ruling it violated the Second Amendment right to bear arms.