I would support legislation that would ultimately curb the flow of illegal guns into the city. Stronger penalties for people who fail to report lost or stolen guns or commit gun crimes, state licensing of gun dealers, and a buyback program that pays fair market value for firearms would be a beginning to help getting guns off our streets.
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Despite the progress noted above, we continue to have a gun problem – driven in large part by the ease with which someone can go to the suburbs, Indiana or Wisconsin to easily purchase a weapon or get it through a straw purchaser. Chicago Police currently take more illegal guns off the streets than police in NYC and LA combined. Until we have better state and federal laws to keep these guns out of our communities in the first place, we’ll continue to face challenges. We should begin by passing the Chicago gun store ordinance on the state level. This would require all gun dealers in Illinois – which account for 40% of the guns recovered in Chicago crime scenes, to implement best-practice policies such as training, security plans, inventory audits, tracking merchandise recovered in crimes, employee background checks, and videotaping the point of sale.
I would support legislation in Springfield designed to increase the number of
law enforcement officers patrolling our ports, airports, waterways, railways
and highways. These are the major access points through which illegal guns
are smuggled into the state and into Chicago. Also, I would support harsher
sentencing of persons convicted of crimes and conspiracies to smuggle illegal
firearms into Chicago.
As evidenced by the continual increase of shootings and the unacceptably high rate of gun-related crimes, the need for gun control cannot be overstated. In light of the current United States Supreme Court interpretation of the Second Amendment, many effective approaches to gun control are regrettably not available. But much more can and should be done to decrease the widespread presence of handguns in our City. As Mayor, I will support strict and enhanced enforcement of all existing laws regarding gun registration and background checks. In addition, as most of the gun violence epidemic in Chicago can be traced to the use of guns by street gang members, I will support enhanced penalties for illegal use of weapons by criminal street gang members, including aggravated crimes of violence. I will also support any legislation that gets to the root of gun violence by addressing economic inequality, promoting police engagement and community response, and allocating resources for job training and mental health.