Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle today introduced an ordinance that would require gun owners to report the loss, theft, destruction or transfer of firearms.
The ordinance will require individuals who lose, destroy, transfer or have their firearm stolen in the County report it to the sheriff’s office within 48 hours.
People who fail to comply would be subject to a $1,000 fine for the first violation.
Owners would be required to report the make, model and serial number of the firearm, along with the date and location of purchase.
“Far too often guns that were purchased legally wind up in the hands criminals,”Preckwinkle said in a statement. “This ordinance will help law enforcement crackdown on individuals who repeatedly fail to file reports yet claim their guns were lost or stolen after they are recovered from a crime scene.”
While the State of Illinois has enacted several laws to regulate the possession of firearms, it does not require owners to report them lost or stolen. By addressing this loophole, the sheriff’s office will be empowered to work with local law enforcement to locate lost or stolen firearms and keep them out of the hands of criminals.
“As local law enforcement budgets continue to shrink, we need to be reasonable yet vigilant in our fight to ensure guns do not end up in the wrong hands and take illegal guns away from those who should not have them,” Sheriff Tom Dart said.
“This ordinance does not take a single gun out of a law abiding citizen’s hands. It will allow law enforcement to go after individuals who are conducting straw purchases of guns for gangs and others who are obtaining guns illegally. I believe by passing this ordinance and working with local agencies we will be able to make our communities and streets safer places for our children and families,” the sheriff added.
Preckwinkle said that while the majority of gun owners are responsible, the ordinance is needed to address actions of those who are negligent or engage in criminal behavior.
A recent study by the University of Chicago Crime Lab revealed that 29 percent of the illegal guns used in crimes recovered by Chicago police originated in Cook County.
The ordinance is co-sponsored by Commissioner Larry Suffredin of Evanston.