Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's call for a statewide handgun registry was only announced Thursday, but the plan has already come under intense scrutiny by gun rights advocates and several, predominately downstate Illinois legislators.
Emanuel is pushing for a statewide registry which would force gun owners to cough up $65-per-gun and provide information about the weapon to the state, including its make, model and where and when it was purchased. The registration would be good for five years, at which point a renewal would cost $25.
The proposal, which Emanuel called "common sense gun legislation," would, according to the mayor, "provide law enforcement officers with essential information about guns used to commit a crime, reduce illegal firearm transfers and create a fair system of accountability for gun owners."
According to the mayor, just more than half of the guns recovered from Chicago crime scenes originate from inside illinois, but outside city limits -- this proposal would help close that gap. While Chicago has a handgun registry, the state of Illinois does not.
"A state law requiring handgun owners to register their guns -- just like they register their cars -- will increase the safety of our residents," the mayor said.
Many downstate legislators, including both Democrats and Republicans, are not impressed by the plan.
"Why does Chicago think they're smarter than anybody else in the rest of the United States? I don't think they are," state Sen. Gary Forby (D-Benton) told WLIS.
There's "just no damned way we're going to let that happen," state Sen. Bill Haine (D-Alton) said, according to the Belleville News-Democrat. "I don't know what possessed Mayor Emanuel to come up with this, but it's the wrong way to deal with violent crime. The way you deal with violent crime is, you put the police on the street, give them the necessary backing to arrest violent criminals, and then you've got to prosecute them and send them to prison."
"The mayor of Chicago needs to pay attention to the city of Chicago," state Sen. Dale Righter (R-Mattoon) told the Southern Springfield Bureau.
While Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn declined to weigh in on the matter directly, he did note Friday that getting support for the proposal would be an "uphill climb" , the State Journal-Register reports.
Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association, called Emanuel's proposal "preposterous" and an attempt "to cover up the fact that he has a crime problem," according to the News-Democrat.
HuffPost Chicago blogger David Ormsby argued in a Monday blog that the mayor's gun registry is a risky proposition, potentially ending the mayor's "honeymoon of doable deals." Fellow blogger Robert Loerzel noted that the proposal "is not new" -- rather, it dates back to legislation proposed by Mayor Richard J. Daley in 1966 -- the year Mayor Emanuel turned seven.
WATCH downstate lawmakers react to Emanuel's call for a statewide handgun registry in Illinois:
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