CHICAGO | Cook County commissioners on Tuesday gave their support to a measure creating penalties for people who fail to report their firearm as stolen.
The board approved a measure introduced last month by Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, D-Chicago. His bill requires people to report when their firearms are stolen or face a minimum fine of $1,000.
Police say that many gun owners claim to have forgotten to report their weapons as stolen whenever they turn up used in a crime.
Garcia said he sees this ordinance as a first step toward reducing urban violence.
“When a bullet takes the life of an innocent person, all of us feel the pain and all of us pay the price,” Garcia said.
The County Board gave its approval Tuesday without discussion or debate, although the issue had been discussed at length at a meeting of the board’s Legislation and Intergovernmental Relations Committee. Many mothers who had lost children to urban violence testified at the meeting.
The vote came just after the County Board gave its approval to a resolution paying tribute to the life and death of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, who was shot to death by a stray bullet one week after participating in ceremonies for President Barack Obama’s inauguration last month in Washington, D.C.
Commissioner Joan Patricia Murphy, D-Crestwood, whose district includes much of the area along the Illinois-Indiana border, said she would like to see more after-school programs to help curb urban violence, while saying that tougher gun laws alone won’t solve the problem.
“These gun laws won’t stop certain people from getting their guns,” Murphy said.
The County Board also voted for a study on whether increased use of electronic monitoring devices can help alleviate crowded conditions at Cook County Jail.
Electronic monitoring devices could let people being held for lesser offenses out of jail while cases are pending.
The board referred to its legislation committee a measure studying electronic monitoring.
Commissioner Larry Suffredin, D-Evanston, said that committee likely would meet some time in March.
But the board did approve the awarding of contracts to Irvine, Calif.-based Sentinel Offender Services and 3M Electronic Monitoring Inc., of Odessa, Fla. The former company will be paid $3.68 million to provide a global positioning device that can be attached to jail inmates, while the latter will provide a device for $8.05 million that informs law enforcement officials when an inmate on electronic monitoring leaves the confines of his home.
Both contracts are for three years, with two one-year renewal options.