Monday, June 21, 2010

Is registration safer?

In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Mayor Richard M. Daley seems resigned to his favorite law's fate. Chicago's 28-year-old handgun ban, enacted with the hope of reducing violent crime, will most likely be overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court before it adjourns for the summer. In the interview, Hizzoner Da Mare indicated he will require handgun registration. This is necessary, he says, to protect emergency response teams who need to know if a home is armed.

In another report, the same newspaper estimated there are 100,000 illegal handguns in homes all over Chicago. Obviously, most of these are not registered because it is currently impossible to register a new handgun legally in Chicago. (Handguns owned before the ban went into effect are legal.) Let's say there are one million households in Chicago. Maybe ten percent of these have guns. Once the ban is overturned and a registration law goes into effect, how many of these gun owners will bother to register them? Registration fee, licensing fee, fingerprinting fee--for a right that the Supreme Court says is really none of the city's business?

Mayor Daley can blather all he wants about the need for registration to protect cops and firefighters. When one considers that only a percentage (small percentage?) of handguns in the city will be registered, his pronouncements make about as much sense as his certainty that the handgun ban reduces crime.

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