Defense of city's gun ban to be focus of hearing

City officials will meet with their lawyers this week to discuss how to defend Chicago's strict handgun ban from legal attacks in the wake of a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning a similar ban in Washington, D.C.

Corporation Counsel Mara Georges and other members of the city's legal department will address the issue at a joint meeting of the Committee on Police and Fire and the Committee on License and Consumer Protection on Thursday.

"We need to know that the corporation counsel is vigorously defending this ordinance," says Alderman Bob Fioretti (D-2), who sponsored the resolution calling for the hearing.

"We need to have a clear understanding of the legal arguments, so that we're not pursuing anything on a wrong basis here."

On June 26 the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision that struck down a Washington, D.C. ban on handgun ownership as unconstitutional.

The ban is similar to a Chicago law that prohibits most city residents from owning handguns unless the guns were purchased prior to 1982.

Shortly after the ground-breaking ruling was announced, the Illinois Rifle Association and the National Rifle Association filed separate suits in federal court to repeal the ban in Chicago.

The Court's ruling did not address whether the Second Amendment protections it said were violated by the D.C. ban would apply to local and state governments as well, a factor which could work to maintain the ban's legal standing, Fioretti said.

"An analysis shows that it may be applicable only to federal territories," said Fioretti.

The hearing will take place at 11 a.m. Thursday in room 201-A of City Hall.

In other City Hall business yesterday, the Parks and Recreation Committee approved funding for an extension of several Chicago Park District summer programs aimed at providing children and teens in high-crime neighborhoods with safe summer activities.

The Chicago Safe Summer Enhancement program, a partnership between the park district and the Department of Children and Youth Services, will provide vouchers for kids in targeted neighborhoods to attend summer camps operated in parks throughout the city.

The program is expected to place an additional 1,031 kids in camps at a cost of $500,000. The park district and the city's After School Matters program will spend $750,000 to expand the NeighborSports program to encompass an additional 1,500 teenagers this summer.

In addition to extending program hours the city will launch a NeighborSports Weekend program in 20 neighborhoods experiencing a high incidence of violent crime.


HENRY JASINSKI, 07-23-2008

Daley, Fioretti, the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois need to realize that they are violating the U.S. Constitution including the 14th ammendment, the Illinois State Constitution, the Bill of Rights and peoples' rights!! This is going to be the battle, not the gun ban!!