In response to the mass shooting that occurred in Las Vegas last year as well as the killing in recent days of a police commander in downtown Chicago, members of the City Council are taking steps to ban the use of bump stocks in the city as well as body armor worn by civilians.
Lawyers representing the city believe that existing laws banning assault weapons include a ban on possessing bump stocks, which is what the shooter in Las Vegas used. However, the City Council Public Safety Committee voted to approve the addition of verbiage specifically naming those devices.
The committee also approved a restriction of the possession, purchase or sale of protective body armor to only members of law enforcement, military personnel, firefighters and other emergency responders on the job. The law no longer allows civilians in Chicago to wear body armor.
When investigating the October 1, 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas that killed 58 concertgoers and injured hundreds more, law enforcement found 12 bump stocks in the shooter’s hotel room. He’d attached them to his arsenal of semi-automatic assault weapons to make them fire much faster.
The man being held for killing police Commander Paul Bauer on February 13th near the James R. Thompson Center in the Loop had a ballistic vest on under his clothes at the time. Alderman Edward Burke said, “This shows that these items need to be regulated.”
Shomari Legghette, the individual charged in the murder of Commander Bauer, has multiple felonies on his record and therefore was certainly prohibited from purchasing or wearing body armor. However, the ordinance being proposed in Chicago would cast a far wider net than the one cast by state law in that it would ban the use of body armor by all civilians in the city of Chicago.
The proposed bans are scheduled for a vote during the meeting of the full council on Wednesday. During the same session, aldermen are also expected to give their approval to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s resolution to call on state legislators as well as Governor Bruce Rauner to enact a number of additional gun control laws.
While the City Council moved its proposal forward, statehouse Democrats were doing everything they could to garner votes for overriding Gov. Rauner’s veto. In the meantime, people who had been victimized by gun violence were testifying before a committee hearing held in the Bilandic Building. All were expressing the opinion that stricter state gun licensing laws would reduce crimes involving guns.
Maria Pike, whose son was gunned down and killed in Logan Square 5½ years ago, testified that she was “not anti-gun, but for sensible gun laws,” adding “I am for the residents of Chicago and Illinois. We deserve to live in peace. Our children deserve protection. We should be able to safely enjoy our parks, go to movie theaters, and everywhere else without worrying about being gunned down.”
Under the bill that the governor vetoed people who sell, transfer or lease 10 or more guns annually would be required by state law to be licensed. Gun dealers and everyone who works for them would be required to be fully trained on how to properly store firearms, conduct thorough background checks on buyers and prevent gun thefts. They would also need to be trained on how to prevent buyers from illegally purchasing a gun for someone else who is not allowed to legally own one.