The nation’s third-largest city seeks to adapt to changes imposed by a federal court affecting gun laws.
The Chicago City Council voted to rescind the requirement for gun owners to register their weapons with local agencies, a move to comply with changes in state law.
The council made the move reluctantly, and passed a law that banned concealed weapons in businesses that served alcoholic beverages.
The change in the law regarding gun registration is one that many officials worry will affect the ability of law enforcement officials to track guns in the nation’s third-largest city. It is a city that has been a nationwide focus of continued gun violence, particularly in the predominantly Black and Latino South and West sides.
The council also voted to enact far more stringent penalties for people who commit crimes with guns with within 100 feet of city public transportation centers. The new law creates "public transportation safety zones," which are to be an extension of the “Safe Passage" zones meant to protect students traveling to and from school.
The city was compelled to make changes in local gun laws after a United States Court of Appeals ruled that Illinois’ ban on the carrying of concealed weapons in public was unconstitutional.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel expressed strong disappointment with the changes in the state law regarding gun registration and concealed weapons.
“This is an ongoing battle and struggle to make sure our laws reflect the safety our residents need,” said Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, speaking at a news conference on Wednesday.
The events came as Emanuel confronted another thorny issue regarding a settlement to two men who said they were tortured by a former Chicago police commander several years ago.
The settlements award $6.15 million to both Ronald Kitchen and Marvin Reeves, two men who spent 21 years in prison for the 1988 murders of two women and three young children. They were released and cleared in 2009.
"This is a dark chapter on the history of the city of Chicago," Emanuel said speaking to reporters and referring to the incident as "a stain on the city's reputation. He added, "I am sorry this happened.”
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(Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)