What's up this week: City Council to vote on revised gun law; Asian American Caucus holds first meeting

What's up this week: City Council to vote on revised gun law; Asian American Caucus holds first meeting
Photo by al1962/Shutterstock

The City Council on Wednesday will consider a revised gun ordinance introduced last month by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

If it passes, the new law will prevent anyone convicted of a violent felony from obtaining a gun permit. Someone who was convicted of a violent misdemeanor within the last five years wouldn't be able to get a permit either.

Emanuel introduced the tweaked ordinance at last month's council meeting, after a federal judge ruled part of the city's gun law unconstitutional. Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan said in June that a section of the city's gun code which forbids anyone with a misdemeanor conviction from obtaining a firearms license is "unconstitutionally void for vagueness."

Both former Mayor Richard M. Daley and Emanuel support strict gun-control laws, and have argued that they're essential to curbing street violence, even though reports found that over several years the ban rarely resulted in gun convictions.

More recently, laws under both mayors have been chipped away at by national gun-rights groups.

In 2010, the city's outright gun ban was ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, which prompted the city council's quick passage of another strict gun law.

And since Emanuel took office in May 2010, the city has reportedly spent $375,000 fighting national groups that have challenged the city's gun laws, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Wednesday's vote comes as Chicago continues to experience high-numbers of gun-related homicides, and on the heels of a mass shooting in a Colorado movie theater, which left 12 people dead, but has not resulted in any widespread call for passing tougher gun laws.

In the past, Daley pointed to gun-related tragedies as a way to push for widespread gun-control laws.

State lawmakers to convene newly formed Asian American Caucus

On Friday, June 27, 11 state legislators will meet in Chicago to figure out a "leadership structure" for the newly formed Asian American Caucus, and to discuss the group's objectives with Asian American activist groups.

The lawmakers agreed to form the caucus at the urging of local organizations, such as the Uptown-based Asian American Institute, which wants representatives to be aware of the sometimes unique needs and interests of Asian American communities statewide.

There are no Asian Americans in the statehouse.

Many state lawmakers saw the Asian American populations in their redrawn districts balloon last year, so it's in their political interests to be responsive to this growing constituency.

The lawmakers attending the meeting include:

  • 16th District state Rep. Lou Lang
  • 2nd District state Rep. Eddie Acevedo
  • 57th District state Rep. Elaine Nekritz
  • 11th District state Rep. Ann Williams
  • 13th District state Rep. Greg Harris
  • 44th District state Rep. Fred Crespo
  • 14th District state Rep. Kelly Cassidy
  • 64th District state Rep. Michael Tryon
  • 1st District state Sen. Antonio Munoz
  • 8th District state Sen. Ira Silverstein
  • 7th District state Sen. Heather Steans.

All are Chicago-area Democrats except Tryon, who is a Republican from Crystal Lake.

The meeting starts at 1 p.m. at the Michael A Bilandic Building, 160 N. LaSalle St, on the 6th floor.

For more information, contact the Asian American Institute at 773-271-0899.

© Community Renewal Society 2012

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