Chicago May Expand 'Gun Offender' Registry

| by Michael Allen

In July 2010, the Chicago City Council passed an ordinance establishing a 'gun offender registry,' similar to a sex offender registry.

According to, that law currently requires those convicted of unlawful use of a gun, which includes illegal possession of a gun, to register with police.

Now, Chicago Alderman Ed Burke wants Chicago's gun offender registry to be expanded to include people arrested for committing crimes with a gun.

Burke's plan would list anyone convicted of a violent crime with a gun, including kidnapping, assault, robbery and vehicular hijacking.

There are currently 548 names in the gun registry, but Burke said: "Clearly I felt that there are thousands of offenders that should have been added to the registry."

Burke's plan to expand the list was approved at the City Council's Committee on Public Safety hearing Thursday and is on the agenda for the full City Council next Wednesday.

"We believe the ordinance can be implemented and will help achieve the Mayor's goal of reducing gun violence and illegal weapons in the city of Chicago," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office.

"If you start publishing information about those people and their pictures they are going to become targets," said Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association, who added: "police know who they are anyway."

Ex-convicts living in Chicago are required to register their names, identifying information, place of residence and place of employment.

The current law requires those people to register within 48 hours of release from prison, but Burke's plan gives them five days or they would face fines of up to $500 a day, or six months in prison.

"Shouldn't mom and dad have an opportunity to check a gun offender might be registered at that address?" Burke said.