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Chicago lawmakers approve tough gun shop restrictions

By Mary Wisniewski

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The Chicago City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved a law that would allow the resumption of gun sales in the city but with restrictions that require videotaping of purchases and limiting sales to one per month per buyer.

Forty-eight council members voted to approve the ordinance proposed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel after a federal court invalidated the city's long-time ban on gun sales in January.

The law also requires a 72-hour waiting period to purchase handguns in the nation's third largest city and a 24-hour waiting period to purchase rifles and shotguns.

Chicago has been plagued by a gun-related homicide rate that is three times higher than New York's and twice that of Los Angeles.

The court order had given the city six months to come up with its own gun store policies.

Under the new ordinance, gun store employees have to undergo background checks and sellers need to prepare quarterly inventory audits and make store records available for police inspection. Gun sales are prohibited within 500 feet of schools.

Emanuel called the ordinance "tough, smart and enforceable."

Emanuel has stressed the need to strictly control gun sales within the bounds of the court order.

"The level of violence is unacceptable in this city," Alderman Bob Fioretti said in support of the ordinance.

The Illinois State Rifle Association, a gun rights group, has said the restrictions will make it too difficult for anyone to open a Chicago gun store.

(Reporting by Mary Wisniewski; Editing by Jim Loney and Bill Trott)

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