Judge grants six-month delay on letting gun shops set up in Chicago

A federal judge Tuesday granted the city the six months Mayor Rahm Emanuel said it needs to figure out where to allow gun shops in Chicago.

U.S. District Court Judge Edmond Chang said his decision balances the needs of the city to craft regulations with the public’s Second Amendment rights.

Pete Patterson, an attorney for gun rights advocates, told Chang the six-month time frame is too long. Patterson said the city acted far more quickly to a court ruling that overturned the statewide ban on carrying concealed weapons in Illinois.

But Andrew Worseck, a city Law Department attorney, said that in that case, the legal fight was far more prolonged — giving city officials more time to draft regulations.

After Tuesday’s brief hearing, Worseck told reporters he’s confident six months will be sufficient for the city to come up with rules regulating the sale of guns within Chicago.

“We will do everything we can to have a new package in place within 180 days,” Worseck said.

Last week, Emanuel said he would abide by the federal court ruling he views as a “straitjacket” but said he needs six months to set up rules and regulations and figure out where to put the gun stores.

On Tuesday, the mayor thanked the court for allowing him to buy time.

“Our goal is to create the strictest regulations that protect our residents and also comply with the court order without undermining the progress we have made in reducing violent crime,” the mayor said in a statement.

“We owe nothing less to the children, families and residents of Chicago than to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and straw purchasers.”

In a related matter, the City Council’s Budget Committee accepted a $150,000 grant from the Joyce Foundation that Emanuel intends to use to hire “someone with the expertise” to create a “gun violence prevention” plan for Chicago.

“We’d like to do some research into where illegal guns are being trafficked into the city, develop an interdiction plan, work on a strategy with our federal and local partners — including the state’s attorney’s office and federal prosecutors,” said Janey Rountree, Emanuel’s chief deputy for public safety.

“We’re also looking at ways that we can do better at preventing gun violence by working with CPS, by looking at how juveniles are diverted through the juvenile intervention and support center.”

Rountree noted that the Joyce Foundation has funded a “number of staff positions” for the mayors of Milwaukee, Minneapolis and other major cities in recent years, through a gun-control group spearheaded and primarily bankrolled by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

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