Marjorie Fujara, a pediatrician at Cook County’s Stroger Hospital who also is head of the Moms Demand Action group, said she thinks tougher regulations are needed to keep kids away from firearms. She said children as young as 3 are physically capable of pulling a trigger.
“These kinds of laws are inconvenient, but so are seat belt laws, and no one argues against them,” she said.
Ignoring a potential legal challenge, the Cook County Board on Wednesday approved an ordinance requiring people with children to store their firearms more securely.
The measure, which passed 11-3, with three other county commissioners absent, requires people with children living in their homes to have their firearms in a separate place from its ammunition, and for trigger locks to be on the firearms at all times.
Children are defined in the ordinance as people younger than 21.
Repeat offenders could be fined as much as $2,000.
Commissioner Jesus Garcia, D-Chicago, said he has heard of too many instances of young children finding their parents’ firearms and hurting themselves accidentally.
The measure, which came the same day the Chicago City Council voted 46-0 to approve a ban on so-called assault weapons and tougher fines for shootings near schools, came under immediate criticism.
The County Board also approved its own assault weapons ban, calling for fines of up to $10,000 for repeat offenders, and up to six months in jail. That ban applies to all Cook County municipalities that do not have stricter ordinances on their books.
“We must do what we can to stem the tide of gun violence and keep weapons with high levels of destructive capability out of circulation,” County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said.