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Chicago council to vote on gun sales; hunters fight ammo ban effort

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While Seattle Mayor Ed Murray meets with the City Council today to talk about solutions to so-called “gun violence,” the Chicago City Council will vote on Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposal to allow highly-restricted firearms sales in the Windy City.

Between Murray and Emanuel there may not be much philosophical difference about gun rights and firearms ownership, but there is a marked difference in style. Both men complain about violent crime, but compared to the Chicago slaughterhouse, Seattle is downright sedate.

Emanuel’s plan includes a three-day waiting period for handgun purchases, 24 hours for long guns, and all gun sales must be videotaped. That was enough for the Bellevue-based Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms to issue a press release challenging Emanuel to photograph crooked Illinois politicians rather than law-abiding would-be gun owners.

Today's Chicago Sun-Times quoted West Side Alderman Emma Mitts, who admitted during a committee meeting last week, “I wish it could [make a difference] but, no it won’t…You don’t control guns. We’re not controlling where they come from. All these kids — they get `em. You just can’t stop that.”

One might justifiably ask Mitts and other council members why they would adopt such a restrictive measure. If it is not going to make a difference, why adopt an ordinance that clearly is designed to discourage retailers from opening gun stores in the city, thus making it difficult for law-abiding Chicago residents to purchase a firearm without having to travel several miles to do it.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Emanuel wants his rules to be “the toughest the city feels can stand up to further legal scrutiny.” This confirms what CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb said about the proposal: “It’s just one more attempt by a gun prohibitionist to prevent gun sales, period. They don’t want to prevent crime; they want to prevent gun ownership.”

Gottlieb speaks from authority and experience. It was a lawsuit by CCRKBA’s sister organization, the Second Amendment Foundation, that forced the city to end its 30-year handgun ban. It was a subsequent SAF lawsuit that forced the Illinois legislature to adopt a concealed carry statue, allowing Prairie State citizens to carry concealed handguns for personal protection. And, it was a SAF lawsuit that derailed the city’s earlier ordinance that essentially prohibited firearms training courses in the city, although such courses were required to obtain a city gun permit.

The legal action that led to this new gun sales ordinance was brought by the Illinois Association of Firearms Retailers, with support from the National Rifle Association. Essentially, Chicago has been hammered by the courts over its gun control measures.

Meanwhile, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) is encouraging hunters to contact the Department of Interior and ask that it reject a 50-page petition from the anti-hunting Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and others seeking a ban on traditional ammunition on public lands. NSSF alleged that the petition is “littered with junk science.”

Sportsmen and women can call Interior Secretary Sally Jewell at (202) 208-3181, the Fish & Wildlife Service Office of Public Affairs at (703) 358-2222 and the DOI Office of Communications at (202) 208-6416.

According to the NSSF, public lands account for one-fifth of the total land area in the United States. That includes national forests and recreation areas, national wildlife refuges and other federal lands where hunting is allowed, much of it in the West, including Alaska.

Perhaps coincidentally, the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife is conducting a survey of hunters that asks about the use and knowledge of lead ammunition. According to the Salem Statesman-Journal, 4,200 hunters are being surveyed.

The newspaper quoted Ron Anglin, ODFW Wildlife Division chief, who emphasized, “I want to make real clear that the department is not proposing any kind of ban on lead ammunition. We just know that this is a topic of interest among folks, and we're trying to get out ahead of the issue and make sure that we have our finger on the pulse of what constituents think.”

That said, the Oregon Firearms Federation has alerted its members that a lead ammunition ban “is on the horizon.” OFF wants sportsmen and gun owners who did not receive a survey to send an e-mail to the agency at ODFW.wildlife@state.or.us, the newspaper reported.

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