CHICAGO — An ordinance allowing Chicago residents to own handguns took effect yesterday, two weeks after the US Supreme Court made the city’s handgun ban unenforceable — but people may still be four months and a couple hundred dollars away from having one legally.
Police Superintendent Jody Weis said that those who want guns must be fingerprinted, submit to a background check, pay a $100 application fee plus $15 for each gun they register. Police also said they are initially giving themselves 120 days to process applications.
The new law, which officials say is the strictest of its kind in the nation, was pushed by Mayor Richard Daley and passed by the City Council July 2, just a few days after the Supreme Court ruled on that Americans have a right to possess handguns for protection.
Under the ordinance, residents must take and pass a four-hour class and one hour of training at a gun range, and submit affidavits signed by state-approved firearms instructors.
Gun rights advocates were quick to criticize the process that the police department is implementing. “The purpose of all this is to simply prevent civilian firearm ownership, [and] it doesn’t make anybody safer,’’ said Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association. “When was the last time local gang-bangers went through a background check and firearm training?’’