The National Rifle Association has launched a legislative drive to dismantle strong gun bans in Chicago and test Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s wavering commitment to broader gun control, the Chicago Tribune reports. Aiming at Mayor Richard Daley’s hardline stance against the proliferation of guns, an NRA package of state legislation would allow residents of Chicago and other places that ban handgun ownership to keep the weapons in their homes for self-defense purposes. It would hold places with bans liable for injuries that residents claimed could have been avoided had they been allowed to carry handguns.
The aggressive approach by the powerful gun lobby puts pressure on Blagojevich to have more involvement in the gun-control debate as he prepares to deliver his annual State of the State message today. Blagojevich pushed antigun measures while in Congress, but that caused him trouble with rural voters as a candidate for governor and he has largely sidestepped the issue since. Today, he is expected to highlight a high-profile drive to crack down on the sale of violent video games to minors. The NRA was emboldened by last year’s passage of the so-called Wilmette bill, inspired by a resident of the suburb who shot an intruder in his home and was charged with violating a handgun ban. The law allowed someone like the Wilmette man to claim self-defense while fighting charges in court.