February 9, 2012

Mayor Emanuel Proposes Statewide Gun-Titling Legislation

Handgun Registration to Trace Guns, Reduce Illegal Firearm Transfer, and Help Solve Crimes

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced today proposed legislation that would require handgun registration and titling in the State of Illinois. The new law would provide law enforcement officers with essential information about guns used to commit a crime, reduce illegal firearm transfers, and create a fair system of accountability for gun owners. 

The City of Chicago requires all handgun owners to register their guns with the Chicago Police Department (CPD); however the State of Illinois has no such requirement. 

“This is common sense gun legislation that will protect the rights of responsible gun owners while helping to keep illegal guns off the streets,” said Mayor Emanuel. “56 percent of short time-to-crime guns recovered at Chicago crime scenes originate in the State of Illinois, but outside of the City of Chicago. A state law requiring handgun owners to register their guns – just like they register their cars – will increase the safety of our residents.”

A state-wide gun registry would allow CPD to follow the chain of possession for guns found at Chicago crime scenes beyond the original purchaser, which would assist in solving crimes.  The legislation would also help to prevent the illegal transfer of guns by: (1) requiring handgun owners to contact local law enforcement if their gun is lost or stolen; and (2) requiring sellers to report all handgun sales and transfers.

“This legislation, aimed at ensuring responsible gun ownership throughout the State of Illinois, is about keeping residents safe,” said Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy. “It will create accountability for gun owners and firearms dealers to ensure that they act in a responsible manner in order to keep guns from falling into the hands of criminals.”

In addition, the proposed legislation would help to protect responsible gun owners by providing purchasers with proof that they are not buying a stolen gun. 

“The level of gun crime in the Chicago area is just too high, making our residents victims in their own neighborhoods and homes,” said State Senator Tony Munoz. “This legislation works to keep illegal guns off the streets, out of the hands of gang members, and will help keep residents safe.”

The proposed law would include a $65 registration fee, a portion of which will be directed towards the Illinois State Police to implement the registration system.  The additional funds will be used to improve two essential public safety data systems: the Law Enforcement Agencies Data System (LEADS) and the National Instant Criminal Background Check Systems (NICS).

“The flow of illegal guns into our communities is unacceptable, we need to do everything we can to keep our neighborhoods safe for children and families,” said State Representative Will Davis. “This legislation is an important step in keeping our communities safe.”

LEADS, the State's database designed to maintain criminal justice information on the local, state, and national level, is responsible for keeping individual criminal records, arrest warrants, missing and wanted persons databases, murder and sex offender registries. Currently, LEADS is in Mainframe, and has trouble communicating with other, more up-to-date systems because of its antiquated technology. Keeping this technology up to date will make it easier for law enforcement to store and search for information pertaining to crime. 

NICS is a national system used by various states to ensure that firearms and explosives do not fall into the hands of criminals. NICS provides critical information pertaining to individuals that are not eligible purchasers. However, the Illinois State Police (ISP) does not have the funding necessary to upload many pertinent records onto the system. Providing ISP with additional funding is critical to closing this dangerous information gap.

The gun legislation bill is currently undergoing final review and will be filled in the coming weeks.

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