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Preckwinkle wants county gun reporting law
Says a report of any lost, stolen firearms will help keep them away from 'ne'er-do-wells'

Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Chicago Tribune
by John Byrne

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle wants a new law requiring people to report if their firearms are lost, stolen or sold to help the fight against gun violence, but there are questions about how effective such statutes are in tracking weapons used in crimes. On Wednesday, Preckwinkle introduced an ordinance to the County Board that would allow for a fine of at least $1,000 for anyone who doesn't report to the county sheriff within 48 hours that their gun is no longer in their possession for any reason. The proposal is designed to make it tougher for so-called straw purchasers to resell guns to "gangbangers and ne'er-do-wells," she said. "We want to be sure those who purchase guns behave responsibly, and are not part of the difficult problems we face on the streets," Preckwinkle said. Chicago already has such a requirement on the books, with penalties of up to $5,000 and 90 days behind bars for failure to report a gun that is lost, stolen or transferred. Preckwinkle's ordinance would apply only to incidents outside Chicago. Even with Chicago's ordinance, there were 506 homicides in the city in 2012, a 16 percent increase over 2011, and the great majority were committed with handguns. "I'm not sure I would say it's not doing any good at the city level," Preckwinkle said when asked why the county ordinance would be more effective than the municipal statute. "I can't speak to what's happened at the city. My view is we should take every measure that we possibly can to diminish the violence in our streets, and this is one we think is appropriate, and will have some impact." Sheriff Tom Dart acknowledged guns recovered from criminals frequently have been disfigured to obscure the serial numbers, making it "very difficult" to track the weapons back to their original buyers. But Dart, who appeared with Preckwinkle at a news conference, said it's nonetheless important for the county to take steps like the reporting requirements. "You can't just constantly sit back and say 'Oh well, the (National Rifle Association) is going to beat us up, the NRA is going to make this difficult, so you know what, let's all crawl under our desks and do nothing,'" Dart said. Preckwinkle hopes the County Board will approve the gun measure next month.

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