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City Council approves contradictory gun laws

Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd)  |  Rich Hein~Sun-Times

Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) | Rich Hein~Sun-Times

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Updated: October 15, 2013 6:44AM

The City Council moved Wednesday to both comply with — and undermine Illinois’ new concealed carry law.

The end-run around concealed carry came when aldermen imposed a requirement that Chicago restaurants that serve liquor ban firearms or lose their city licenses.

The ordinance championed by Finance Chairman Edward M. Burke (14th) and downtown Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) would exempt stores that sell packaged liquor.

But all other establishments that serve alcohol — not just bars that generate more than half their revenue from liquor — would be required to prohibit firearms on the premises.

Those that refuse and fail to post signs near their entrances declaring their establishments gun-free zones could be stripped of their licenses to do business in Chicago.

Reilly said his downtown ward includes 1,100 liquor license holders who have “legitimate concerns” about allowing their patrons to bring loaded firearms into their establishments.

“Even during the Wild West, when everyone and their brother was carrying a loaded firearm on their hip, many saloon keepers knew well enough to keep these guns and bullets out of their establishments because nothing good could happen,” Reilly said.

“Most of us have seen or heard stories where security for these liquor establishments are trying to remove an inebriated individual and, in some cases, that individual turns violent. They tend to grasp for anything available that could be used as a projectile or blunt instrument. God-forbid that individual makes a poor decision to reach for a loaded firearm.”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said it “doesn’t take a masters or PhD” to know that guns and booze don’t mix. He’s not concerned that a National Rifle Association that opposed the Brady Bill and the assault weapons ban would be threatening to sue — again.

“It wouldn’t be a surprise to me that they would be in favor of making sure that people are allowed, to both drink and have guns. I do not think that’s in the interest of the city of Chicago. This is a good ordinance. It goes right to the core,” the mayor said.

“If somebody drinks, we take their car keys away…..You’re not supposed to drink and drive. You’re clearly not supposed to drink and shoot.”

The contradictory move to comply with the concealed carry law came when the City Council lifted the decades-old requirement for Chicago gun owners to register their weapons and secure permits.

Aldermen also relaxed the requirement that guns in every Chicago home be secured — either in safes or with trigger locks.

The new law imposes that requirement, only in homes where minors under 18 are present.

The relaxation moves have drawn rare praise from an NRA more accustomed to doing battle with City Hall.

But the NRA’s legislative liaison Todd Vandermyde is pushing for further changes to lift the Chicago ban on laser sights and bullet-piercing ammunition and require trigger-locks, only in homes in which residents under 14 are present.

“Do you think a 75-year-old woman should be forced to carry her .38 around on her hip in her home every minute she’s in her home because the grandkids are there?” Vandermyde has said.

Also on Wednesday, the City Council approved Emanuel’s plan imposing stiffer penalties for gun crimes committed within 100 feet of CTA stations and bus shelters.


Twitter: @fspielman

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