Mayor Rahm Emanuel is proposing a far-reaching ordinance that would keep gun stores out of most parts of the city and require them to videotape every sale to deter customers from buying firearms for crooks.
The ordinance is a response to a federal judge’s ruling in January that Chicago’s longtime ban on gun stores was unconstitutional.
Emanuel chose not to fight the decision, and the court gave the city six months to approve store restrictions short of a ban. The deadline is July 14.
Under the proposed ordinance, special-use zoning would keep gun stores out of 99.5 percent of Chicago, limiting them to pockets of the North, West and South sides, city officials said. The stores could not be within 500 feet of a school or park.
Store owners would have to conduct quarterly audits of their gun sales and allow police to inspect their records. They also would have to get the police to approve a security plan before they could open their doors.
“There is no question it will be the smartest, toughest regulation on gun stores in the country,” said Janey Rountree, the mayor’s deputy chief of staff for public safety. “It’s designed to prevent gun trafficking and illegal sales in these stores.”
Peter A. Peterson, a Washington attorney for gun-rights advocates who sued the city over the store ban, said he could not comment until he sees the ordinance. Todd Vandermyde, a spokesman for the National Rifle Association in Illinois, also declined to comment.
Both men have previously said that the six-month time frame for coming up with regulations was too long.
Rountree said similar safety measures were imposed on gun stores in New York City in a settlement of a 2006 lawsuit the city brought against 20 firearms dealers.
Those stores agreed to videotape the “point of sale” when a customer bought a gun, Rountree said. Their employees also received training from a retired federal agent on identifying potential “straw purchasers,” people who can legally buy guns but then supply criminals with them.
As a result, those dealers saw an 85 percent drop in the number of “crime guns” they sold, Rountree said.
Chicago’s proposed ordinance would require gun stores to submit a safety plan outlining exterior lighting, surveillance cameras and alarm systems, as well as storage of guns and ammunition.