CHICAGO (AP) - A federal judge has approved Chicago's request for a delay of six months to allow the city time to craft a new gun sales ordinance.
Federal Judge Edward E. Chang approved the 180-day delay Tuesday. Chang had ruled Jan. 6 that the city's ban on gun sales was unconstitutional, and Monday was deadline for the city appeal the ruling.
Instead, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration decided to seek the six month delay in its implementation.
The decision was yet another defeat for Chicago's gun restrictions, following a similar path as its now defunct ban on handguns.
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Attorneys for Chicago have made it official: The city will ask for six months to craft a new gun sales ordinance rather than fight a federal judge's findings that its ban on gun sales is unconstitutional.
In yet another example of the city's recognition that it cannot keep guns out of the hands of its residents, attorneys filed a motion Monday - the last day they could have appealed the judge's Jan. 6 ruling - asking for 180 days "to enact reasonable and comprehensive regulations governing firearms sales and transfers that will protect public safety while also respecting Second Amendment rights."
Attorneys were scheduled to ask federal Judge Edward E. Chang for the 180-day delay during a hearing on Tuesday. Last week, Chang found that while the government has a duty to protect its citizens, it is also obligated to protect constitutional rights.
Later in the week, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office said the mayor had instructed city attorneys to ask for the six-month delay, though his office did not officially rule out an appeal of Chang's decision.
The city said it would not appeal "if the effect" of the judge's order is delayed, though it was unclear if the city could still file an appeal after Monday's deadline.
Still, the motion seems a clear recognition that a city that has fought to keep guns out of the hands of its residents as hard as any city in the United States has lost yet another legal battle.
In 2010, for example, the city followed a similar path when it enacted a handgun ordinance within two weeks of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that rendered Chicago's decades-old handgun ban unenforceable.
The city said it needs the six months to for gun sales because any ordinance will "have many detailed components, including zoning, licensing, and operational requirements for gun dealers, as well as robust regulations targeting illegal sales and transfer practices ..." The motion also said it will take time for the City Council to enact an ordinance.
The attorneys point out in the motion that when a federal court struck down Illinois' last-in-the-nation ban on carrying concealed weapons, it gave state lawmakers 180 days to write a new law that legalized the practice.
That law was subsequently passed, and Illinois residents have started to apply for permits with the Illinois State Police.
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