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Chicago 'Gun Offender' Registry Change: Sex Offender-Like List Could Include All Gun Crimes

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Much in the way sex offenders submit personal information to a registry when convicted of a crime, Chicago aldermen want to expand a "widely-ignored" registry for gun law violators.

Thursday, a City Council committee approved the measure led by Ald. Ed Burke (14th) to widen the more than two-year-old registry to include anyone who commits a violent crime with a gun, reports WGN.

“When arranging for a play date with their child’s classmate and...going over to the classmate’s house, shouldn’t Mom and Dad have an opportunity to check whether a gun offender might be registered at that address?” Burke said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

The proposal is a move to boost the currently meager registry, where WBEZ reports fewer than 600 offenders are currently in the system. Under the new law, registry-worthy gun offenses would include kidnapping, assault, battery, home invasion, robbery, vehicular hijacking and armed violence.

The Tribune reports only those convicted of unlawful use or possession of a weapon now must register under the current law, and those flouting the city's registry ordinance can face up to six months in jail and a $500 fine.

To access the current registry, offenders and viewers must go through the city's sex offender registry first, a move police admitted to ABC Chicago is a "clumsy" one.

According to the alderman, the criminal justice office in Baltimore — which, like New York and Washington, have large gun offender registries — reported that less than five percent of the 1,100 plus gun offenders registered have been rearrested on new gun charges.

The proposed change to the law means the city's gun offenders could be required to provide police with personal information like their photos, height, weight and home addresses as early as next month, according to WBEZ.

ABC reports the registry would keep offenders listed for at least four years.

Former Chicago police officer Ald. Willie Cochran (20th) raised concerns the city lacks the manpower to take on the surge of registrants the law would unleash.

Around the Web

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