Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Chicago City Council Passes Assault Weapons Ban

New law stiffens penalties for possession of high-capacity weapons

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Mayor addresses Chicago City Council after the passage of two gun laws targeted toward assault weapons and violations along student safety zones.

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Chicago leaders are looking to muzzle assault weapons after the state passed the new conceal carry law.

The City Council passed an ordinance Wednesday prohibiting the "import, sale, transfer and possession of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines" in Chicago.

"The lion's share of guns in Chicago are handguns, yes, but there are these weapons used by gangbangers -- the uzis, the AK-47s, we need to make sure there are stiffer penalties for, and if we had not done it, we would have been remiss in on responsibilities to the people of the city of Chicago," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.

Under the new state law, cities had 10 days to pass new or updated assault weapons legislation.

The new law specifically bans any semiautomatic rifle or handgun that is capable of accepting a detachable magazine and has at least one military feature such as telescoping stocks or pistol grips; any shotgun that is capable of accepting a detachable magazine, has at least one military feature, or has a fixed capacity of more than five rounds, and any weapon with a fixed magazine of more than 15 rounds.

Violators will be fined between $1,000-$5,000 and spend anywhere from 90-180 days in jail.

The Council also approved a measure that increases penalties for weapon and gun-related offenses in student safety zones, including along safe passage routes, and in and around school buildings and buses.

The ordinance breaks the level of guns and weapons crimes down into three tiers, ranging from crimes involving dangerous weapons other than firearms to assault weapons and high capacity magazines.

The high-end penalties for violations in student safety zones also tops out at $5,000 and 180 days in jail.

But Emanuel told the City Council that much more needs to be done.

"Until we get a three-year minimum for all gun crimes with a mandatory sentence, our police and our citizens are going to be struggling against a flood of guns and a flood of access by gang members to those guns," Emanuel said.

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