February 19, 2008

Mayor Daley Details City's Gun Legislation Program

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Richard M. Daley today unveiled a package of "common sense" gun legislation proposals the City will support in Springfield and Washington, D.C., that balances the need to protect the rights of gun owners with the necessity of reducing the threat of gun violence in Chicago and all across America.

"Taken together, I believe these laws will reduce gun violence in Chicago. When we do that, we protect all the people of our city, but especially our younger generation and our children," Daley said in remarks delivered at Chicago Police Department Headquarters, 3510 S. Michigan Av.

"As I've said many times, too many neighborhoods in our city are still terrorized by gang and drug thugs who threaten our families, our children, and their quality of life," he said.

The mayor said that because of good police work, the use of technology and smarter strategies, violent crime and homicides continue to fall in Chicago. Homicides have reached an historic 42 year low, while violent crimes are at a 16 year low.

"But the number of homicides in our city is still unacceptable. One murder is one too many," the Mayor said.

Initial crime data from last year shows that the vast majority of homicides in Chicago 75 per cent -- involved firearms, Daley said.

Further, the data show that 89 per cent of offenders had a prior record and that more than 73 per cent of murder victims had a prior record as well, he said.

"Every year, I've presented an aggressive package of gun reform legislation in Springfield and Washington, D.C. In the last few years, we've made some, but not enough progress against the odds in Springfield.

"That's why today I am announcing a new package of gun legislation that I will present to the 2008 legislative session in Springfield and that I will pursue in Washington, D.C.

"I know many people may not appreciate these proposals -- especially the gang bangers, the drug dealers and the thugs who terrorize our neighborhoods with their weapons," Daley said.

The legislative package includes five proposals - four of which will be pursued at the state level and one at the federal level. The City will:

  • Support legislation that requires all private sales of handguns to undergo a background check by the State Police prior to sale. This would close the "private sale loophole" in Illinois and decrease the trafficking in illegal handguns.
  • Support legislation to require handgun dealers to be licensed by the State Police. "We know that in the Chicago area, less than one per cent of gun dealers are responsible for 48 per cent of all guns used in Chicago crimes. Beekeepers and barbers are licensed by the state, why not handgun dealers?" Daley said.
  • Support a ban on semi-automatic assault weapons and .50 caliber military grade rifles.
  • Support legislation that prohibits multiple sales of handguns to an individual within a 30-day period. It also creates the offense of unlawful acquisition of handguns. "One handgun a month - that's our proposal. It will reduce the number of guns entering the illegal market," Daley said.
  • Support legislation to require people with children in the home to have trigger locks on their guns, or to keep their guns broken down and locked up.
  • Support legislation which bans high capacity ammunition magazines.
  • At the federal level, support "micro-stamping" legislation to require that all semiautomatic pistols contain a mechanism to stamp the gun's make, model and serial number on the shell casing of the bullet every time the weapon is fired.
  • And support passage of the assault weapons ban which expired in 2004.

Daley said the gun laws are needed to complement and enhance the City's existing efforts against violence.

"Even with the progress we've made in preventing and fighting crime, a generation of young Chicagoans is at risk because of gang, gun and drug violence.

"It's why for years we've worked to offer a solid future to our young people - by improving our schools, providing more after school programs and job training and getting more of our students to go on to college.

"It's why we've implemented better policing strategies to protect them and every other Chicagoan," the mayor said.

He noted that: last year, the City's gun turn-in program took more than 6,000 guns off the streets and another 7,500 guns were recovered by police officers; the City continues to add neighborhood safety cameras throughout Chicago and at many Chicago schools; and that he has proposed moving the curfew time up 30 minutes for young people under 17.

Last year, more than 40 per cent of Chicago murders took place during curfew hours, he said.

"I know some people wonder why I continue to pursue passage of gun reform legislation in the face of strong opposition from the NRA and other gun extremists," Daley said.

"It's very simple. Reasonable gun laws are right for the State of Illinois. They're right for the people of Chicago. And, they're right for our nation," he said.