Mayor Richard M. Daley today outlined the gun legislation proposals the City will support in Springfield and Washington, D.C. in 2010, including new proposals to increase penalties for the illegal transfer or sale of a gun to a minor.
“In this new year one of the greatest tests we face is how to step up our ongoing efforts against the gangs, guns and drugs that are behind most of the violence in our city,” Daley said in a news conference held at Police Headquarters, 3510 S. Michigan Ave., at which he was joined by legislators, organizations, parents of children who have been killed by guns, faith-based and other leaders.
Daley pointed out that violent crime in Chicago fell in 2009 compared to 2008. Murders fell by 10.5 percent, from 512 to 458. Of the total murders in Chicago in 2009, 82 percent were committed with a gun and 60 percent were gang-related.
“If we’re going to make more progress against gangs, guns and violence, we need common sense laws that protect the rights of law abiding citizens to purchase guns but also help us end the flood of illegal weapons that kill our children,” the Mayor said.
Daley said people want such laws and pointed to a recent poll conducted for the national coalition “Mayors Against Illegal Guns” – of which Chicago is an active member – that showed that the vast majority of gun owners in the country, including most members of the National Rifle Association, support sensible gun laws that keep guns away from criminals.
For example, the poll showed that 69 percent of NRA members and 85 percent of Non-NRA gun owners support background checks for all gun sales at gun shows. And it showed that 82 percent of NRA members and 86 percent non-NRA gun owners support prohibiting suspected terrorists from purchasing guns
Daley said another clear sign that people support common sense gun laws is the success in last year’s session in Springfield, in which the General Assembly passed three proposals Chicago introduced or supported. But, he also acknowledged that efforts to pass these types of common-sense laws in states and in Congress are often unsuccessful, largely because the top lobbyists at the NRA continue to misrepresent what is widely known to be the views of its own members.
One measure makes Unlawful Use of a Weapon by a gang member a Class 2 felony, punishable by a minimum sentence of 3 years and a maximum of 10 years.
Another increases penalties for shooting students on or near school grounds and on or near public transit, and the third creates an interstate gun trafficking task force within the Illinois State Police.
“So, we have momentum heading into the new decade, and that’s why it’s more important than ever that we work for common-sense gun laws that focus on stopping the flow of illegal guns into our communities and keeping guns out of the hands of criminals,” Daley said.
In Springfield, the City’s legislative package includes some proposals made in previous sessions, specifically:
Daley said that at the state level and with support from the Joyce Foundation, the City intends to form a new organization of Illinois Mayors and religious, business and community leaders to collaborate on gun issues.
The group will focus on two key areas:
The Mayor vowed that the City will continue to fight the gun industry’s efforts to throw out Chicago’s gun ban and limit the rights of cities to regulate guns.
“The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the Chicago case on March 2. In the meantime, we will continue to advocate for the rights of cities to regulate guns, to coordinate efforts with other cities that share our position and to develop new ordinances in case our ordinance is deemed unconstitutional,” Daley said.
Already, 17 friend of the court briefs representing more than 150 individuals and organizations have been filed in support of the city’s position, he said.
“I know that enacting this legislation may be an uphill battle – as it always is – especially when the NRA is effective politically,” the mayor said.
But, I have an obligation to stand up for the people of Chicago – regardless of what the odds might be, and that's what I'm going to do again this year,” he said.