NRA applauds ‘gutted’ Chicago gun control ordinance
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter September 9, 2013 1:06PM
Ald. Jim Balcer (11th), left, chairman of the City Council's Public Safety Committee, talks with National Rifle Association legislative liaison Todd Vandermyde after Monday's vote "gutting" the gun ordinance rushed into place by former Mayor Richard M. Daley after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Chicago's toughest-in-the-nation handgun ban. | Fran Spielman/Sun-Times
Updated: October 11, 2013 6:13AM
The Chicago gun control ordinance rushed into place after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the city’s handgun ban would be “gutted” to satisfy Illinois’ concealed carry law, under a rewrite advanced Monday that delighted the National Rifle Association.
Todd Vandermyde, the NRA’s legislative liaison, went so far as to call it a “great day for gun owners” in Chicago.
“Mayor Daley’s pinnacle handgun ordinance after the loss in the McDonald decision is now, for all intents and purposes, gutted,” Vandermyde said.
“The Chicago firearms permit requirements are gone. The registration of all firearms, for the first time in my lifetime, are gone. Those are some significant developments.”
Two months ago, the General Assembly satisfied a federal court deadline to make Illinois the last state in the nation to allow gun owners to carry concealed weapons. The vote came after lawmakers defiantly overturned Gov. Pat Quinn’s amendatory veto.
On Monday, the City Council’s Public Safety Committee did its part by repealing the gun registry and firearms permit provisions of the 2010 ordinance.
Despite the rare praise, the NRA wasn’t totally satisfied with the rewrite.
Vandermyde noted that the Chicago ordinance still requires gun owners in homes that include residents under 18 to secure weapons “not on their person” with trigger locks or in safes. State law imposes that requirement if children 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 said.
The Chicago ban on laser sights also remains in place. So is a ban on bullet-piercing armor that Vandermyde considers a “potential ban on hunting ammo.”
“So you’re against an ordinance that mandates, if you have a gun in your house, it ought to be secure….You oppose an ordinance that tries to increase safety in the homes in Chicago?” said Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th), who sponsored the trigger-lock ordinance.
Vandermyde countered, “We don’t oppose safety measures by and large. But we see these as being impediments to the lawful use of self-defense. For 30 years, your city did not allow somebody to have a handgun in their own home for self-defense.”
Public Safety Committee Chairman Jim Balcer (11th) agreed with Burke, adding, “It’s common sense that you have a trigger lock on a weapon that’s in your house where you have minors. That minor can pick up that weapon, hurt themselves, hurt someone else.”
Afterward, Vandermyde reacted to the hostile questioning from Burke, chief sponsor of another pending ordinance requiring Chicago restaurants that serve liquor to ban firearms or lose their city licenses.
“He’s been a little unhappy about my comments to the press about the fact that he receives taxpayer-funded bodyguards. He doesn’t like the fact that we’re calling him out on it,” Vandermyde said.
“He thinks it’s fine to have bodyguards follow him around and carry in restaurants. But the average citizen should be treated like some second-class citizen because they don’t get taxpayer-funded bodyguards.”
Also on Monday, the Public Safety Committee approved Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to impose stiffer fines and penalties for gun crimes committed within 100 feet of CTA buses or bus shelters, CTA or Metra trains or train stations.
It’s a companion ordinance to the mayor’s plan to create school safety zones to reassure parents whose children are forced to travel longer distances to school after nearly 50 school closings.
“As a city, we have a responsibility to protect riders of buses and trains, especially the many students who rely on the CTA as a key mode of transportation, from the dangers of gun violence,” the mayor said in a statement issued after the committee vote.
“I am very pleased the Public Safety Committee has taken the next step in creating new Public Transportation Safety Zones.”