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City Council Expands Chicago Gun Offender Registry

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Chicago City Council Chambers (CBS)

Chicago City Council Chambers (CBS)

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Updated 03/13/13 – 1:51 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) – The city’s “gun offender registry” will be expanded in the coming weeks, after the City Council voted Wednesday to increase the number of crimes that would prompt a requirement to enlist in the registry.

Under the current requirements, only Chicago residents convicted of unlawful use of a weapon needed to register with police as gun offenders – within 48 hours of being released from prison. Since the ordinance went into effect in July 2010, only 584 names have been placed on the list. Another 74 people who should have signed up were being sought by police.

The new ordinance proposed by Ald. Edward Burke (14th) would expand the registry to anyone who commits a violent crime with a gun – including kidnapping, assault, battery, home invasion, robbery, or carjacking. The new ordinance would give such convicts five days to register after their release.

Burke, who backed the original ordinance, said the results so far have been disappointing.

Asked if it should be up to prosecutors to inform the police when someone has been convicted of a gun crime, Burke said, “I think it’s incumbent on all elements of the criminal justice system; including the Department of Corrections, when the person is released from prison, to notify the Police Department.”

The registry includes the names, aliases, birth dates, height, weight, eye color and driver’s license number of every offender, as well as a photo ID and details of their convictions.

Offenders are further required to tell police where they work and report to the Police Department in person every six months.

Some have questioned whether Chicago police can handle the increase in registrations.

Those found in violation of the gun offender registry would face up to six months in jail, and a $500 fine.

New York, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C., have similar gun offender registries.

(The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report)

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