Chicago City Council moves to allow museums to display unloaded guns for historical purposes

Katie LaPotin, Red Alert PoliticsMay 9, 2013

It turns out the Chicago city government has passed so many gun control laws over the years that its politicians don’t even know what is or isn’t banned within the Windy City.

A top Chicago Alderman, Edward Burke (D-14th), introduced a new ordinance Wednesday that would allow city museums to display unloaded firearms for historical purposes after learning that an anomaly in the city code made previously displaying the weapons illegal.

“Chicago is home to several world-class museums,” Burke said in a statement. “And it has come to my attention that such an exemption is reasonably warranted to allow such institutions to display unloaded firearms that often accompany uniforms and other historical artifacts.”

Burke, the Dean of the Chicago City Council and a self-proclaimed history buff, cited the example of Major General William P. Levine, one of the soldiers who helped liberate the Dachau concentration camp during World War II, as a reason for his proposed ordinance. Levine’s family had donated a weapon he acquired during the war to thePritzker Military Library, however the museum was unable to display it because of the existing city ordinance.

“I think in Chicago, museums should have the same opportunity to display articles of historical significance even if they are firearms,” he told DNAInfo Chicago. ”Museums are caught in a dilemma that if they have in their collections artifacts that can be defined as firearms, even though there’s historical significance to the memento, they can’t be registered in the city and can’t be displayed.”

Naturally, the Pritzker Military Library is among those thrilled that the council is moving to reverse the gun ban.

“It’s about preserving the stories of citizen soldiers from World War II, World War I…who have served our country,” Kenneth Clarke, the president and CEO of the library, told DNAInfo Chicago. ”The reality is there are a lot of historic firearms sitting across the city in closets and attics that nobody knows what to do with. Who knows where they end up. If the city were to have this kind of ordinance, libraries and museums could be places where those firearms go and are taken off the streets and properly secured.”

Clarke added that the museum currently stores its historic guns collection in a fire-proof safe in the Chicago suburbs, and that the museum has had to turn away several potential donations because the library can only store so many weapons at that location.

h/t DNAInfo Chicago

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