Cook County State’s Attorney Richard A. Devine has proposed the new Cook County Deadly Weapons Dealers Control Ordinance to the Cook County Board of Commissioners, in response to the intensifying of high levels of violent crimes within the County, and throughout the United States.
The Cook County Board of Commissioners passed the newly revised ordinance on November 23, 1999, following the case of “straw purchasers” being brought into the light, wherein gang members are purchasing firearms from suburban gun shops. State’s Attorney Richard A. Devine designed and intended for the new ordinance to increase regulation of drug dealers, and ultimately, to decrease death due to illegal firearm possession. It is reported that the widespread availability of firearms within the Cook County is a major contributor to the unacceptably high levels of violent crimes in the community.
Guns are reported to cause more death and destruction compared to other weapons in the industry today. It is said to constitute three-quarters of all homicides occurring in the Cook County, which results to a greater expense not only in the safety of the citizens, but also to the cost and charges related to healthcare, police, and for the criminal justice system.
The Cook County Deadly Weapons Dealers Control Ordinance aimed to re-evaluate and amend the previous state law, which contained ambiguity and inconsistency, resulting to several loopholes and unacceptable provisions and leading to dangerous and unchecked gun sales through gun shows, as well as illicit straw purchases that supply firearms to criminals and the youth. The detrimental effects of these loopholes to the community are immense, such that they have become black holes for illegal selling and rapid increase of the number of individuals in illegal possession of a firearm, which leads to the use of guns to maim and murder innocent people in the Cook County.
A 1998 investigation made in relation to a lawsuit filed by Cook County and the City of Chicago against certain gun dealers revealed that suburban gun shops have been abusing the privilege of carrying a business involving firearms, which much be quickly controlled, regulated, and terminated if proven to resist new ordinance. In order to address the urgent concern on the growth of irresponsible gun possession, the Cook County Board of Commissioners necessitates the strict control and regulation of sales and transfers of firearms within Cook County. The Board asserts that this is to promote and protect the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of Cook County.
The new Cook County Deadly Weapons Dealer Control Ordinance is working towards preventing gun shops from selling to irresponsible gun owners through imposing a more rigorous background requirements, and a thorough disclosure by individuals before a gun sale occurs. Furthermore, the ordinance raises the minimum age for legal purchasing of a gun, as well as impose strict regulation of the location and concentration of gun shops within the County in order to further protect the children and the residents of the State. The Cook County Deadly Weapons Dealer Control Ordinance not only eliminates the loopholes from previous law concerning gun possession but also limits the number of guns permitted to be purchased by an individual and requiring all guns to be equipped with safety devices at the time they are purchased, among others.
Immediate forfeiture Cook County Deadly Weapons Dealer License and/or a fine of $500 to $5,500 may be required for each violation made by any person or business accountable for violating or failing to comply with any of the provisions of the Cook County Deadly Weapons Dealer Control Ordinance. The aforementioned fine shall be the penalty for all violations, in which every sale or act of violation shall constitute a separate and distinct violation. This is also placed on top of any fines or penalties applicable from any federal, state, or local laws and ordinances. Moreover, the illegal sale of firearms in violation of the Cook County Deadly Weapons Dealer Control Ordinance is punishable by up to six-months imprisonment. The law applies to unincorporated Cook County and to most County municipalities.
Updated: August 25, 2020