BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter email@example.com July 19, 2012 11:26AM
The latest version of the firearms ordinance was rushed into place in 2010 after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Chicago’s 28-year-old handgun ban, the latest in a series of setbacks to the city’s efforts to control the proliferation of firearms.
In a ruling last month, U.S. District Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan left the ordinance largely intact but shot down the section used to deny a man a gun permit because of a prior misdemeanor conviction.
Der-Yeghiayan ruled that section “unconstitutionally void for vagueness” and said it violated Shawn Gowder’s right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
On Thursday, the City Council’s Committee on Public Safety approved Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s latest rewrite.
The new version would permanently bar anyone who has been convicted of a felony violent crime and impose a five-year ban on anyone convicted of a misdemeanor violent crime.
Deputy corporation counsel Mike Forti predicted the latest version would pass legal muster.
“He focused on whether or not there could be a lifetime ban for nonviolent misdemeanors,” Forti said. “What we’ve done here is not only address specifics of the Gowder case but go slightly beyond it to [say] that all nonviolent misdemeanors do not constitute a ban to getting a gun permit. So we’re quite confident it’s gonna easily satisfy the court’s ruling.
“It’s very serious if someone has committed a violent misdemeanor. What we tried to do is balance the seriousness of those crimes with an individual’s right to exercise their 2nd Amendment [rights]. We thought a permanent ban might be too excessive but that a five-year ban was reasonable.”
Chicago aldermen rework city’s gun law to satisfy federal judge