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Spray paint sales banned

CHICAGO -- The City Council took steps to deprive graffiti artists of their 'weapons of terror' by banning sales of spray paint cans and certain paint marker pens.

The City Council vote to ban spray paint sales was 38-1.

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The only negative vote came from Alderman Dorothy Tillman, who said she was concerned about minority rights under recent anti-crime legislation.

'Spray paint cans have become weapons of terror,' Alderman Edward Burke said Wednesday. 'It's time that we ban the weapons of graffiti in Chicago.'

The city has banned spray can sales to minors for seven years. But Alderman Richard F. Mell said that ban did not stop the 'mindless 'taggers' who race through our neighborhoods destroying property.'

Spokesmen for paint industry groups said prospective vandals will buy their spray cans in suburbs and legitimate customers will be deprived of paint. The ban does not take effect for 60 days.

'If they do this, what's next? Shoe polish?' asked David Lloyd, director of state affairs for the National Paint and Coatings Association. 'That's a very popular method of graffiti these days.'

'Obviously the aldermen are frustrated and flailing. But I think they've gone too far,' Lloyd said. He said Chicago is the only U.S. city to ban spray paint sales.

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In addition to paint, the ordinance bans sales of paint marker pens with brushes 3/8 of an inch or wider.

City Council postponed until June 17 action on a proposed ordinance to outlaw loitering by groups if one of the persons is a known street gang member.

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