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Rahm Emanuel seeks statewide gun-offender registry

Mayor Rahm Emanuel. File photo.   |  Sun-Times files

Mayor Rahm Emanuel. File photo. | Sun-Times files

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Updated: January 25, 2013 6:13AM

Sneed has learned that Mayor Rahm Emanuel has instructed top aides to prepare a plan to introduce legislation in Springfield that would create a statewide gun-offender registry — and create a vehicle to cloak Chicago cops with statewide authority to stop the flow of illegal guns.

The gun offender registry would be similar to the state law that mandates that convicted sex offenders register with local law enforcement authorities.

◆ Background: Baltimore and New York City already have successful gun-offender registries that require defendants convicted of certain gun crimes to register their addresses with the police; verify them in person every 6 months, and promptly notify the police if they change addresses for a period of time following their conviction or period of incarceration, according to Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a gun-control coalition.

◆ Impact: Baltimore began its registry in 2008, and less than 5 percent of the 1,669 gun offenders named on the registry have been arrested on new gun charges, Baltimore City Hall official Sheryl Goldstein told the Washington Post in May. The registry has “definitely had an impact,” she said. “The recidivism rate of people who are registered as gun offenders is lower than the national average significantly, and the rate of re-offending with guns is very, very small.”

◆ Upshot: If so, bet on the plan grabbing national attention. Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy played a significant role in developing the registry in New York City when he was a top cop there.

◆ Also on the drawing board: A plan to re-create the Cook County Metropolitan Enforcement Group, which was dissolved in 1999 after a 21-year run because of budget constraints. The group was a multi-jurisdictional task force made up of state, suburban and Chicago police officers.

◆ The kicker: The plan could enable Chicago Police officers and officers from other jurisdictions to be sworn in as special agents of the Illinois State Police — giving them statewide authority to go after gun stores and other sources of weapons plaguing inner-city neighborhoods.

◆ Sneed also hears speculation that the mayor might use surplus funds left over from the NATO Summit last May to jump-start these efforts.

◆ Translation: While Washington diddles with gun-control speechmaking, Chicago’s chief executive — who was once President Barack Obama’s chief of staff — is demanding action.

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