Last week the Chicago City Council voted unanimously to pass an ordinance that would allow gun sales to take place in the city. The ordinance came after a federal court struck down the city’s decades-long ban on gun stores earlier this year. According to The Chicago Sun-Times, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and city aldermen made it clear during the meeting that the ordinance will satisfy the court order, but still severely restrict gun sales in the city.
“We had a gun to our head,” Alderman Pat O’Connor said.
The ordinance will allow gun shops to return to the city, but only if they adhere to a long list of regulations. The Associated Press reported that because zoning laws will keep gun stores from opening up shop within 500 feet of a school or park, they will effectively be barred from at least 99.5 percent of the city. Retailers will also have to videotape all gun sales, allow police inspection of their records, and limit customers to one handgun purchase per month.
Observers say that the ordinance will likely bring a legal challenge from local gun rights advocates, who have been energized by recent progress in Illinois. Gun owners in the state were able to practice concealed carry for the first time after lawmakers ended the state’s long-standing ban on concealed pistols last year. Illinois was previously the only state in the country that did not allow concealed carry in any form.
Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association, wants to see progress in Chicago as well but says that the new ordinance will do little to change how guns are acquired in the city.
“It’s actually an ordinance to prevent gun shops,” Pearson said.