Starting today, Chicagoans can legally keep handguns in their homes.
Following a Supreme Court decision that rendered the city's handgun ban illegal, the city council approved a gun ordinance that is still strict, but allows guns to be kept in homes.
Two lawsuits have already been filed against Mayor Daley and the city over the new gun ordinance, which gun rights advocates claim violates the Second Amendment--and disregards the Supreme Court ruling.
"The Supreme Court has now said the Second Amendment is an individual freedom for all. And that must have meaning," said Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association. "This decision cannot lead to different measures of freedom, depending on what part of the country you live in. City by city, person by person, this decision must be more than a philosophical victory. An individual right is no right at all if individuals can't access it."
The new ordinance only allows guns to be kept inside homes--so having a weapon in a resident's garage or back porch is considered illegal. Other parts of the gun ordinance include:
* Limiting the number of handguns residents can register to one per month and prohibiting residents from having more than one handgun in operating order at any given time.
* Requiring residents in homes with children to keep handguns in lock boxes or equipped with trigger locks and requiring residents convicted of a gun offense to register with the police department, much as sex offenders are now required to do.
* Prohibiting people from owning a gun if they were convicted of a violent crime, domestic violence or two or more convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
* Requiring prospective gun owners to be fingerprinted, take a four-hour class and one-hour training at a gun range.
* Calls for the police department to maintain a registry of every registered handgun owner in the city, with the names and addresses to be made available to police officers, firefighters and other emergency responders.
Those who have handguns, illegal under the ban, would have 90 days from the day the ordinance is enacted to register those weapons.
Residents convicted of violating the ordinance face a fine of up to $5,000 and be locked up for as long as 90 days for a first offense, and a fine of up to $10,000 and as long as six months behind bars for subsequent convictions.
"We believe that Chicago's ordinance is a reasonable attempt to balance the right of individuals to possess handguns in the home for self-defense with the substantial risks to public safety that are associated with the proliferation of firearms," the city's law department said in a statement last week.