CHICAGO – Officials in Chicago – where gun violence has persisted despite some of the nation’s toughest handgun restrictions – are attempting an end run around a new state law that allows the public possession of concealed firearms.
A City Council committee approved an ordinance Friday that would require Chicago bars and restaurants that serve alcohol to ban firearms. Those that don’t could lose their liquor licenses. The proposal, which still must be voted on by the full council, is stricter than the law approved by the Illinois Legislature earlier this year. That measure bans firearms from establishments where alcohol sales account for at least half of revenues.
The effort is the latest in the ongoing war between politicians who say looser gun laws will lead to more crime and gun-rights advocates who say restrictions violate their Second Amendment right to bear arms.
Todd Vandermyde, a lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, said city officials didn’t have the authority to circumvent state law. He also told the Chicago Sun-Times that aldermen were trying to create “two classes of citizens” because under the proposed ordinance, retired law enforcement officers and an establishment’s owners and tenants would be allowed to carry their weapons.
“My life – the life of my family – is not worth protecting when I’m trying to get to and from a restaurant?” Vandermyde said. “Why are we supposed to be second-class citizens put at a disadvantage because somebody doesn’t like the law that was passed?”
Illinois was the last state in the nation to still have a ban on the concealed carry of firearms when a federal judge ruled in December that the law was unconstitutional.