The day after the Supreme Court cleared a path to overturn Chicago’s ban on handguns–among the toughest in the U.S.–frustrated city officials considered new measures to circumvent the high court’s ruling, the Wall Street Journal reports. At a tense City Hall meeting packed with citizens holding up photos of children who’d been shot, aldermen discussed forcing gun owners to purchase liability insurance and to undergo criminal background checks and periodic firearms training. They peppered a firearms-law expert and Police Superintendent Jody Weis with questions, promising to pass something meaningful.
Mayor Richard Daley, an outspoken critic of gun access, reacted angrily to the Supreme Court decision. He has been unable to halt the gun violence that claims dozens of school-age children each year. On the third weekend in June, more than 50 people were shot and seven killed. The youngest was one year old. Although Chicago’s homicide rate is lower than it was at the height of the gang wars that followed a crack cocaine epidemic of the early 1990s, it is slightly ahead of last year’s pace and gun violence remains a prominent dilemma. The homicide rate in New York City is one-third that of Chicago’s and the rate in Los Angeles is two-thirds, said Jens Ludwig, director of the University of Chicago Crime Lab. About three-quarters of city’s murders are committed with a firearm. The city’s gun ban has been sporadically enforced since being enacted 28 years ago.