Emanuel proposes tougher gun laws to City Council

January 17, 2013 2:54:07 PM PST
Gun laws in Chicago could soon be a lot tougher. Mayor Rahm Emanuel submitted his plan for controlling weapons to the City Council Thursday.

Emanuel will ask the council to raise fines and jail penalties for residents who do not register their firearms or who do not report the loss, theft, destruction, sale or transfer of such weapons.

"Today we are taking the steps that are necessary that we think are both legal but also making sure that we enhance our capacity to deal with lost and stolen guns," Emanuel said.

Under the proposed ordinance, the penalty for possessing an unregistered weapon would increase from 20-90 days to 90-180 days in jail.

The fines for not reporting a lost, stolen or transferred weapon would rise from $1000 to $5000 with possible jail time tacked on.

"So, we're bringing our penalties up so it actually has some preventive capacity," Emanuel said.

Chicago's rates for homicides and shootings have increased during Emanuel's 20 months as mayor.

Like the Obama administration, he is hoping that the Sandy Hook massacre has whetted the public's appetite for stronger gun control laws.

Alderman Willie Cochran, a retired city cop, proposed a council resolution calling on gun manufacturers to implant GPS tracking devices in their products.

"GPS tracking devices is just another method by which we can find and locate these guns that are on the street," he said.

For the past several decades, Chicago has had some of the most stringent gun control laws in the country and some of the highest rates of gun violence in the nation.

Even Emanuel conceded, tougher city laws need support on the state and federal levels.

"That will compliment all the other things we are doing here to make sure that our citizens and residents of the City of Chicago are also safe," he said.

A quick survey of City Council members found no opposition to the mayor's plan to increase penalties for laws already on the books.

The Illinois Rifle Association had no immediate comment.