City toughens reporting requirement for lost, stolen guns
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org February 13, 2013 1:04PM
Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy talks about these recently seized guns. In the 9th District, 3120 S. Halsted. Monday, February 4, 2013 | Brian Jackson~Sun-Times
Updated: March 15, 2013 1:19PM
The City Council agreed Wednesday to broaden the requirement for reporting the loss, theft, sale or transfer of firearms to all gun owners — and double the jail time for an array of gun violations — to stop the bloodbath on Chicago streets.
The latest in a string of Chicago-only gun control ordinances follows companion legislation that imposed a first-ever reporting requirement in Cook County.
It was hastily drawn after the Connecticut school massacre failed to move the General Assembly to approve an assault weapons ban, but before the murder of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton.
After 506 homicides in 2012 and more of the same during the opening days of the new year, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he was determined to stretch the legal limits of his local authority to prod Springfield into action.
Earlier this week, the mayor said he would ask state lawmakers who have turned a deaf ear to Chicago’s gun control proposals to increase the mandatory minimum sentence for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon from one year to three years and require those inmates to serve 85 percent of their sentences.
Only time will tell whether the tag-team approach with Cook County will succeed in stopping the flow of illegal guns into Chicago.
The ordinance approved Wednesday will require all firearms owners — not just the holders of city firearms permits — to report the loss, theft, destruction, sale or transfer of a firearm to both the Chicago Police Department and to the Cook County sheriff’s office.
Violators face up to six months in jail. That’s double the jail time for a reporting requirement that now applies, only to permit holders in Chicago.
Emanuel’s plan would also double the maximum jail time to six months for possession of a firearm without a permit, possession of assault weapons and other firearms that cannot be registered in Chicago, and for sale or possession of high-capacity magazines and metal-piercing bullets.
David Spielfogel, a senior adviser to the mayor, has called the countywide reporting requirement pivotal.
“There’s no one step that can solve the problem, but this is an important first step to make sure we can track crime guns. Anything we can do to crack down on crime guns is gonna have an impact” on the number of murders and shootings, Spielfogel told the Chicago Sun-Times last month.
“We see lost or stolen as a common excuse. It makes it hard to follow the track … and isolate gun runners supplying guns on Chicago streets. This changes the requirement. You can no longer use lost or stolen as an excuse. It expands the requirement, enhances the penalties and creates a countywide system so we can have a broader impact. They have nothing right now” in the way of a reporting requirement.
Spielfogel described the mayor’s ordinance as the “first step of many” that would be taken in the coming months.