Chicago officials acknowledge that Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plans to update the city’s assault weapons ban and toughen penalties for some firearms violations near schools will have only limited impact on the gun violence plaguing parts of Chicago, the Chicago Tribune reports. Both measures will go before the City Council for a vote today. Emanuel is pushing through the changes after the General Assembly’s passage of a statewide concealed carry law and amid criticism from parents of children who will have to walk through violent neighborhoods because he closed dozens of public schools.
The mayor’s “school safety zone” ordinance would raise penalties for certain gun crimes near schools and along designated Safe Passage routes through neighborhoods to $1,000 to $5,000 and at least 30 days in jail for a first offense, $5,000 to $15,000 and 90 days to six months in jail for a second offense, and $10,000 to $20,000 and at least six months in jail for a third offense. City attorney Rose Kelly said there is only so much the city can do, given the state constitution and state gun laws that in many cases supersede municipal rules. Todd Vandermyde of the National Rifle Association contended it’s likely parts of the mayor’s narrow municipal gun package won’t withstand a lawsuit because they overstep the city’s authority.