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Chicago Mayor Emanuel proposes restrictions on city gun shops

By Mary Wisniewski

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Declaring gun control "essential" to public safety, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday proposed a gun shop ordinance that would videotape gun purchases and limit sales to one per month per buyer.

The ordinance comes in response to a January court order invalidating a longtime ban on gun shops within the nation's third-largest city. The proposed law would require a 72-hour waiting period to purchase handguns and a 24-hour waiting period to purchase rifles and shotguns.

The ordinance would also require gun store employees to undergo background checks, and sellers to do quarterly inventory audits and make store records available for police inspection.

"Gun control is essential to our public safety," Emanuel told reporters. He said the ordinance, which also would prohibit gun sales within 500 feet of schools, was "smart, tough and enforceable." The court order had given the city six months to come up with store policies.

Emanuel and the Chicago Police Department released a report on Tuesday showing that almost 60 percent of the guns used to commit a crime in Chicago between 2009 and 2013 had been initially purchased in states like Indiana, Wisconsin and Mississippi which do not require background checks for sales at gun shows or on the Internet.

More than 3,000 guns, or 20 percent of all guns recovered from crime scenes in Chicago during the same time period, were sold by just four local dealers - three in the Chicago suburbs and one in Gary, Indiana.

Per capita, Chicago police said they recover seven times as many crime guns as New York City and more than twice the number of Los Angeles. Chicago's gun-related homicide rate is three times higher than New York's, and twice that of Los Angeles.

Asked whether videotaping sales might be seen as intimidation, Emanuel countered that ATM withdrawals are also on film.

The head of an Illinois gun rights group said the requirements would make it too difficult for anyone to open a Chicago gun shop.

"It's just impossible to do and that's what the ordinance was designed to do," said Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association.

(Reporting by Mary Wisniewski; editing by Gunna Dickson)

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