Chicago Assault Weapons Ban, 'Safe Passage' Penalties Approved In Unanimous City Council Vote

r-CHICAGO-ASSAULT-WEAPONS-large570.jpgThe Chicago City Council took up a vote in a special Wednesday session on the future of the city’s assault weapons ban and gun penalties near schools. (Getty)

In a rare special session, Chicago alderman unanimously voted on Wednesday to approve a new assault weapons ban in the city as well as harsher penalties for gun violations committed in “Safe Passage” school zones.

Aldermen voted 46-0 to toughen the existing ban by broadening the category of guns the city considers assault weapons, Reuters reports. The local ordinance supersedes the new statewide law legalizing concealed carry.

Additionally, the City Council voted to impose stiffer penalties for gun crimes committed along school children’s “Safe Passage” routes.

“We all have a role to play in building safe communities,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in an earlier statement according to Fox Chicago. “That includes keeping weapons designed for the battlefield off our streets and punishing those who carry or use weapons around school children with stiff penalties.”

Under the “Safe Passage” law, gun violations committed along a “safe route” to school, near a school or near a bus stop will be punishable by a maximum fine $5,000 and a month in jail for first-time offenders. Second and third offenses will net fines of up to $15,000 then $20,000, with jail sentences increasing to three months and then six months respectively.

The laws won’t be in effect 24 hours a day, but in place well before and after regular school hours.

Earlier, the Tribune questioned the impact of a stricter ban, with most Chicago crimes committed with handguns rather than assault weapons; guns that would be classified as assault weapons made up roughly ten percent of the weapons confiscated by Chicago police this year.

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