Ald. writes law to cover his forgetfulness :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Politics
The hypocrisy here is just unfathomable, but then again I'm not from Chicago.
Ald. Richard Mell forgot to re-register his guns (which reportedly include a Walther PPK like this one). No problem -- he'll just write a new law.
May 20, 2008
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter
Ald. Richard Mell (33rd) is a former hunter with an arsenal of weapons that reportedly features shotguns, rifles and pistols, including a Walther PPK of James Bond fame.
But there's a problem.
Mell forgot to re-register the weapons as required every year by the ordinance that he helped to pass as one of the City Council's most senior members.
So, what does an alderman do when he finds himself in violation of the law? He writes a new law. Mell has quietly introduced an ordinance that would reopen gun registration in Chicago and create a one-month amnesty for himself and other gun owners in the same predicament.
During the monthlong window, gun owners who attempted to re-register their guns between May 1, 2007, and April 1, 2008, only to be rejected on grounds the registrations had lapsed would be allowed to re-register without penalty.
"It's not just for me. It's for other people with the same problem. It's giving people who legitimately registered their guns at one time only to let it slip by a chance to come back into compliance," Mell said. "Some people didn't realize that, every year, you have to re-register your guns."
As an aldermen who helps write Chicago's gun laws, Mell acknowledged that he should have been in compliance with the re-registration requirement.
"I knew it was the law. I thought it was being done [by a staff member]. If you have a person you trust to do it and they don't do it, then it doesn't get done. I'm not gonna say it's embarrassing. I'm just gonna say I should have done it," the alderman said.
Mell said he first realized he was in violation of the re-registration requirement about a year ago. When he tried to re-register his guns belatedly, the Chicago Police Department's Gun Registration Section refused to bend the rules. Mell appealed that ruling to the city's Department of Administrative Hearings but decided to re-write the law instead."When we looked at the law, we saw the possibility of winning [the appeal] wasn't gonna happen," he said.