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Mayor Plans New Firearm Ordinance; Durbin Meets With Top Cops On Gun Control

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Updated 01/10/13 – 5:17 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) – Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Thursday he is ready for the city of Chicago to make another attempt at imposing a constitutional gun control ordinance.

WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports the mayor said, at the next City Council meeting on Jan. 17, he’ll introduce a new gun control ordinance, though he wouldn’t provide details.

Emanuel said the ordinance would complement the city’s efforts to keep the city’s children and their neighborhoods safe.

“It will complement our activities of putting more police on the street, having after-school programs like ‘Teacher in the Library,’ it will complement our gun seizures. It will complement what we have done in arresting more gang bangers than in years past,” the mayor said.

Emanuel said details of his gun control ordinance would be released later, but he said he’s confident the City Council will approve it. However, he said state and federal lawmakers need to act on gun control, as well, such as banning assault weapons.

As Emanuel was announcing he’d introduce a new gun control ordinance, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin was joining top law enforcement officials from Illinois State Police and several local police departments — including Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy — to discuss ways to curb gun violence.

WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports police chiefs at the table offered up various suggestions, including more money for suburbs so strapped for cash they can’t afford their own police department, and a process to retrieve weapons from people denied gun ownership.

CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports McCarthy brought along some dramatic evidence of Chicago’s gun violence epidemic: a 30-round military-style 9 mm handgun that could have killed a Chicago police officer when he stopped a car on the West Side on Wednesday.

“A man leaned out the window and fired an Uzi-type firearm at our officers,” McCarthy said. “An uzi-type firearm, and an extended magazine, just last night being fired at our officers in the city of Chicago.”

Fortunately for the officers, the gun jammed, and the officers were not injured. The suspect was arrested.

Also joining the conference was Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, and other police department heads who said they would push for new federal legislation to ban assault weapons.

“Those are instruments of war,” McCarthy said. “You don’t use them to go deer hunting, you don’t use them to go squirrel hunting.”

Durbin said, in the wake of the school shooting massacre in Connecticut last month, it’s time for lawmakers to tighten gun control regulations.

“We can seize a moment here, based on that terrible tragedy at Sandy Hook, to really do something important to make this a safer country,” Durbin said. “And we’re gonna have to stand by those political figures who have to the courage to step up and do the right thing.”

Dart was upset about guns still in the hands of thousands of people whose Firearm Owner’s Identification cards have been revoked due to criminal convictions, or mental illness.

“We can get their card back, but they’re sitting in the house with their guns. We need the authority to go in their houses and get those guns. I mean, this insane,” Dart said.

McCarthy said he’d like to see a law requiring legal gun owners to report whenever a gun is lost, stolen or transferred to another owner.

“You buy a car, you sell your car, you’ve got to tell somebody that you sold your car; same thing with a boat, yet not with a firearm.

Because there is no law in Illinois requiring gun owners to report the theft, transfer, or loss of a firearm, the trail of legally sold firearms is lost at the point of sale.

McCarthy said that’s not the case in New York, where he worked for 25 years, and the theft, loss or transfer of a gun must be reported; and illegal possession of firearms draw mandatory minimum jail terms.

In Chicago last year, police confiscated nine times the number of guns they grabbed in New York. McCarthy said that’s not because Chicago police are so much better at seizing illegal weapons, but because New York has tougher gun laws, and there are simply not as many illegal firearms there.

Chicago also outpaces New York City in homicides. Chicago had 506 last year, compared to a record low of 418 in New York, which has a population about three times larger than Chicago.

At the end of the discussion on gun violence, Durbin noted the need for better ways of fighting the problem was illustrated by a school shooting on the West Coast on Thursday.

“We’re just getting press reports that there was a shooting at another high school, this time in California,” Durbin said.

One student was shot and wounded Thursday morning at Taft Union High School, about 120 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Police said a student was taken into custody, and the suspect used a shotgun in the attack.

“This will not end until we take on the responsibility at every level of government to reduce gun violence,” Durbin said.

The senator expressed optimism that lawmakers would approve legislation denying access to guns for those judged mentally ill and dangerous.

Meanwhile, in Washington, Vice President Joe Biden began meetings with the National Rifle Association, and sportsman and wildlife organizations.

Biden has been putting together recommendations for President Barack Obama for tightening federal gun control laws.

The vice president said he has not reached any conclusion yet, but said “I committed to him I’d have these recommendations to him by Tuesday.”