Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is set to propose an ordinance that will require all gun dealers within city limits to videotape firearm sales. According to The Chicago Tribune, the proposal is intended to crack down on gun traffickers and “straw” purchases, in which a proxy buyer illegally purchases a firearm for someone else. Emanuel will be introducing the plan at Wednesday’s City Council meeting.
“Now that we’re required to allow gun sales within the city limits, we do it in a way that does not undermine our public safety goals,” the mayor said at a recent police ceremony.
It has been more than 30 years since stores in the city could legally sell firearms, but store owners are once again opening up shop after a federal court struck down Chicago’s gun sales ban. In January, District Judge Edmond E. Chang found the city’s ban on firearm sales unconstitutional and ruled that local ordinances went “too far” in preventing residents from lawful acquisitions and sales.
Supporters of the ordinance say that it could be instrumental in dampening Chicago’s crime rates, especially in the violence-stricken South and West Side neighborhoods. According to ABC7, 40 percent of all guns involved in crimes from 2009 to 2013 were illegally purchased.
“Those folks would think twice before buying guns for someone else and then trying to sell it to people on the street,” Alderman Walter Burnett said regarding the ordinance.
The proposed ordinance will also require a 72-hour waiting period for handgun purchases and 24 hours for long guns. Since store records would be subject to quarterly audits, gun owners are concerned that the ordinance will be a de facto gun registry. Chicago’s City Council had just voted to abolish a 45-year-old gun registry last September, much to the approval of Illinois gun rights advocates.
“This is about intimidating law-abiding citizens in the hopes of discouraging gun sales, and creating what amounts to a video gun registry,” said Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. “It won’t stop criminals from illegally obtaining firearms and it won’t stop shootings that have already made Chicago one of the most dangerous cities in the country.”
“This proposal is just one more attempt by a gun prohibitionist to prevent gun sales, period,” Gottlieb added. “We would not be surprised to see this become the new national gun control mantra; the next so-called ‘sensible’ step pandered by the gun prohibition lobby. They don’t want to prevent crime; they want to prevent gun ownership.”
Other gun rights groups decline to comment on the ordinance until more details are released.