Flanked by parents who had lost children to gun violence, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley yesterday called for new laws to restrict gun sales and stiffen penalties for criminals who use them, reports the Chicago Tribune. Although Daley announces new gun-control initiatives every year, the news announcement took on added significance because the U.S. Supreme Court is weighing whether to overturn the city’s handgun ban.
“The aggressiveness of the gun advocates is just one reason it’s more important than ever that we work for common-sense gun laws focused on stopping the flow of illegal guns into our communities and keeping the guns out of the hands of the criminals,” Daley said, standing next to tables loaded with weapons confiscated by Chicago police. Richard Pearson of the Illinois State Rifle Association, a plaintiff in the Supreme Court case, said his group opposes the measures. They would not reduce crime but would make it more burdensome and costly for law-abiding citizens to obtain firearms, he said. “It provides a smokescreen for the mayor and many of the aldermen, so they don’t have to deal with the real problems in Chicago,” said Pearson, whose group is backing proposed state legislation that would let people carry guns in public. Daley backed changes to state law that would require background checks for those buying a gun in a private sale, ban assault weapons, require that gun dealers be licensed and limit the number of handgun purchases to one per person per month. They all failed in previous legislative sessions.