CHICAGO (AP) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel proposed statewide legislation Thursday to require handgun owners to register their weapons, calling it a common sense measure that would protect the rights of responsible gun owners while keeping illegal firearms off the streets.
The city of Chicago requires all handgun owners to register their guns with police, but the state of Illinois does not. A statewide registry would help the Chicago Police Department follow the chain of possession for guns found at Chicago crime scenes that originate in other parts of Illinois, the mayor's office said. It is also aimed at reducing the transfer of illegal firearms.
Emanuel said just over half of what he called "short time-to-crime guns" recovered at Chicago crime scenes come from parts of Illinois outside the city.
"A state law requiring handgun owners to register their guns — just like they register their cars — will increase the safety of our residents," Emanuel said.
The bill has the backing of Chicago police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, who said it would help keep residents safe and ensure responsible gun ownership throughout the state.
The legislation is intended to prevent the illegal transfer of guns by requiring owners to contact police if their gun is lost or stolen. Sellers would have to report all handgun sales and transfers, and buyers would have proof they are not paying for a stolen gun.
"It will create accountability for gun owners and firearms dealers to ensure that they act in a responsible manner in order to keep guns from falling into the hands of criminals," McCarthy said.
The bill is undergoing a final review and will be filed in the coming weeks.