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Cook County Passes Gun-Transfer Ordinance Fining Failure to Report

The ordinance targets illegal “straw purchasers” by levying fines on gun owners who do not report a lost, stolen, destroyed or otherwise transferred weapon.

Making good on Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s pledge to crack down on “straw purchasers” who legally purchase and illegally resell firearms, the Board passed an ordinance Tuesday imposing fines up to $2,000 on gun owners who do not report when a firearm is sold, lost, stolen or otherwise leaves their possession. 

According to the Associated Press, Chicago law enforcement believes that many of the guns used in crimes in the city are first legally purchased—many in suburban Cook—then resold to persons who could not buy a gun legally themselves. 

"The 'burbs are flooding Chicago with guns continuously," Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia told the AP. "This ordinance raises the bar on the responsibility of gun owners as it relates to lost, stolen or transferred guns." 

DNAinfo reports that fines for failure to report a gun-status change to the Cook County Sheriff’s Office (within 48 hours) will be $1,000 for the first offense, $1,500 for a second and $2,000 for any subsequent violations. The law takes effect in August.

"All of us are obligated to do what we can where we are," the site quoted Preckwinkle saying. "Clearly, we would like national legislation on some of these issues, but we're going to do what we can in Cook County.”

The ordinance was approved by a voice vote without debate, CBS Chicago reports, following a tribute to 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, who was shot dead in the Kenwood neighborhood’s Harsh Park last week after previously performing at the presidential inauguration.

The AP also reports that Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Senator Dick Durbin are all lobbying for stronger laws and harsher penalties against straw purchasers.

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