CHICAGO -- Faced with a new state law on concealed weapons, Chicago aldermen are getting ready to do away with some of its strict handgun regulations, including a requirement that residents obtain – and pay for – a city permit.
The City Council's public safety committee's on Monday voted to recommend that the city scrap some of the provisions in Chicago's gun ordinance that angered gun-rights advocates the most. The committee's vote came after little debate, and the substitute ordinance now goes before the full City Council on Wednesday, where it is widely expected to be approved.
Chicago has some of the nation's toughest gun regulations, and the City Council is looking at the ordinance after Illinois passed a new concealed carry law earlier this year that gives state police complete control over the permitting process. Under the proposal, the city will no longer keep a gun registry and will no longer require residents to obtain a firearm permit from the Chicago Police Department.
"There are limits on what we can and can't do," said Alderman Robert Fioretti, who attended Monday's meeting. "The state Legislature has control over this and has tied the hands of city councils across the state."
Former Mayor Richard Daley pushed through the city's current ordinance after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Chicago's outright ban on handguns in 2010.
Todd Vandermyde, a National Rifle Association lobbyist, praised the proposed changes to the ordinance.
"Mayor Daley's pinnacle handgun ordinance ... is now for all intents and purposes gutted, and I think that's a great day for gun owners in the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois," Vandermyde said.
The city is also doing away with a requirement that gun owners make all but one of their firearms inoperable or keep them locked up in some way.
However, the city will keep intact some restrictions that gun-right advocates are vowing to fight.
For example, Vandermyde suggested there might be a legal challenge of the city's continued ban on laser sites of weapons. While a city attorney told the council that Chicago can ban the sites because they are accessories and not part of firearms, Vandermyde said it is ridiculous to ban something that would help people shoot at what they are aiming.
The city also isn't giving up on tough gun laws. The aldermen on Wednesday will be asked to approve another committee's recommendation that Chicago bars and restaurants that serve alcohol be required to ban firearms.