Chicago Gun Law Bars Historic Guns From Museum Displays

By:  Raven Clabough
05/22/2013
       
Chicago Gun Law Bars Historic Guns From Museum Displays

Chicago's anti-gun laws, though ineffective at stopping murders in that city, have been effective at stopping museums from displaying noteworthy guns from their collections.

Chicago’s stringent gun laws are so severe they border on the absurd. It has just been brought to the attention of Chicago Alderman Edward Burke that Chicago law bars city museums from displaying unloaded guns. In response, Burke has introduced an ordinance that would allow museums to display unloaded guns classified as “curios or relics.”

If the bill is passed, the Pritzker Military Library will be able to begin displaying a World War II artifact personally returned stateside from a now-deceased U.S. army officer.

Fox News reported, “A German Walther PP 7.65-mm handgun donated to the museum by relatives of U.S. Army Maj. General William P. Levine — one of the highest-ranking Jewish generals in American history — is currently kept in a safe along with a dozen other handguns at a gun range in suburban Lombard, where they are exempt from the Chicago Firearms Ordinance.”

The weapon is a true artifact. Levine, one of the first Allied soldiers to liberate the Dachau concentration camp, had obtained it from a Nazi officer during World War II. Levine’s family had donated his uniform, military papers, and other memorabilia to the Pritzker Military Library in March after his death, but the handgun has been unable to be seen by visitors because of the firearms ordinance.

“General Levine had the very unique experience of interviewing both captors and captives at Dachau as a U.S. intelligence officer,” museum president Ken Clark explained. “So when you actually have a story attached to Levine, the historical value goes through the roof. For us, it means a heck of a lot historically.”

Burke’s plan could remedy the situation. Burke’s proposal would permit items like the Nazi pistol to be classified as “curios and relics,” defined by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives as firearms that are at least 50 years old and have been certified by a curator of a municipal, state, or federal museum, or any gun whose value is vested mostly from its rare features or associations with historical events or figures.

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