City Council Approves Gun Ban in Chicago Restaurants

Chicago's city council on Wednesday approved legislation that bans guns in city bars and restaurants that sell liquor.

"Bullets and booze do not mix," Ald. Ed Burke (14th) said, noting a license to sell alcohol is a privilege and not a right.

Under the ordinance, restaurants and bars that don't comply with the requirement could lose their liquor licenses. The rule would not apply to grocery or liquor stores that sell package liquor.

Some aldermen expressed concern over lawsuits connected to the ban, but Burke said a law firm already has agreed to represent the city for free.

The legislation follows the state's passage of a concealed carry law that permits guns to be carried in public starting in 2014.

Burke said "many of us were chagrined to learn" that while the law prohibits carrying concealed weapons in government buildings establishments that serve alcohol aren't off-limits.

One of the provisions of the law allows weapons inside business where alcohol is less than 50 percent of their revenue. Gov. Pat Quinn used his amendatory veto to make changes to the compromise concealed carry bill already passed by the legislature, but lawmakers voted to override him.

Among the changes, Quinn wanted to keep guns out of places that serve alcohol and impose a one-gun limit. "We want [visitors] to come together and celebrate," Quinn said. "We want them to have a good time. But we don't want any incidents of violence in any bars or restaurants anywhere in Illinois."

At least one Chicago restaurant felt uneasy about the provision approved and installed "No Weapons" signs in July.

Keefer's restaurant in River North was the first to put up signs.

"We do not believe that guns should be permitted anywhere where alcohol is being served," owner Glenn Keefer said. "Once we post that sign, once someone comes in the restaurant with a weapon, they've broken the law. It's our responsibility to remove keys from people who have had too much to drink. I certainly don't want to be doing that with someone who might have a gun on them."

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