Gun owners in Chicago no longer have to register firearms with local authorities, the New York Times reports.
Chicago’s City Council reluctantly voted Wednesday to end the decades old registration policy in the wake of the new law allowing Illinois residents the right to carry concealed weapons in public. The modification follows the United States Court of Appeals for the 7th District December ruling that stated Illinois’s ban on public concealed carry was unconstitutional. So far, the Democratic-majority Legislature has struggled to balance the perceived needs of the people with the court ruling.
“This is an ongoing battle and struggle to make sure our laws reflect the safety our residents need,” Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a news conference Wednesday.
With 295 recorded homicides in Chicago so far this year, many police officers rely on the registry’s information to understand the movements of guns throughout the city.
The online registry contains more than 8,000 gun owners and about 22,000 firearms. Adam Collins, a spokesperson for the Police Department said officers would continue to use a online database of permit holders maintained by Illinois State Police.
Others, like Richard A. Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association, said the registration law had been a headache for law abiding citizens who wanted to protect themselves. “It was just harassment of law-abiding gun owners, and that’s all it was ever meant to be,” He stated.
Despite this seemingly revolutionary change, Chicago is far from encouraging gun ownership. The Council strengthened other gun regulations, even as it struck down the registration law.