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Chicago Gun Law Change Will Prohibit Firearm Ownership For Certain Ex-Offenders

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In light of the shooting in a Colorado movie theater that left 12 people dead and 50 injured, the Chicago City Council revisited the city's controversial gun ordinance this week and approved new language that tightens restrictions for firearms sales.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel rewrote a section of the ordinance, permanently banning anyone with a violent felony conviction from firearm ownership, and placing a five-year ban on gun purchases for anyone convicted of a violent misdemeanor, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

Wednesday's vote to narrow the ban marks the latest in a long series of rewrites to Chicago's gun control policy: in 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the city's 28-year-old handgun ban, and City Council has been facing frequent legal challenges to its restrictions since then.

The revision was a necessary change following a judge's ruling last month that nonviolent ex-offenders could not be barred from obtaining a firearm owner's identification card and purchasing guns.

After that ruling, Emanuel promised to push back, and many pointed to the city's growing problem with gun violence as evidence that harsher restrictions were necessary.

Deputy Corporation Counsel Mike Forti has advised the city that the new ban will likely pass legal muster, according to WLS. He says the five-year ban for violent misdemeanors "balance[s] the seriousness of those crimes with an individual's right to exercise their 2nd Amendment."

The massacre in Colorado appears to have made for increased interest in gun ownership in Illinois. CBS Chicago reports that, according to the Illinois State Police, more than 1,200 FOID card background checks were requested the day after the shooting, an increase of 41 percent over the previous Saturday.

Shootings have plagued the city this summer: where shootings are a daily occurrence, and a recent survey found that more Chicago residents have been killed in 2012 than U.S. troops in Afghanistan over the same time period.

There’s just way too many guns in this city," Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said at a press conference following the ruling. "There’s way too many guns in the state of Illinois. And it’s one of those situations that if we don’t do something about it – and everything we do matters--if we don’t do something about it, it’s just going to continue at the rate that it is.”

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