Illinois: Majority of Towns say No To Assault Weapons Ban


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. –  As Illinois prepares  to become the last state in the country to allow the concealed carry of  firearms, few of its communities appear concerned that the window allowing them  to ban assault-style weapons will rapidly begin closing next week.

Despite encouragement from Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon — and on the verge of  almost-certain enactment next week of a law allowing residents to carry  concealed weapons — only four communities have adopted semi-automatic gun  restrictions out of more than two dozen taking them up.

According to interviews and information from gun-rights groups such as the  Illinois State Rifle Association, 14 communities have rejected or decided not to  act on proposed bans. Ten have yet to vote or have delayed consideration.

All of them are in the Chicago metropolitan area. Those adopting bans —  Highland Park, North Chicago, Melrose Park, and Skokie — join eight other  cities, also near Chicago, that already regulate possession or sale and transfer  of illegal weapons, according to research compiled by the Illinois House  Democrats’ staff.

The odd linkage of packing handguns in public to allow city-based bans on  semi-automatic weapons comes from a delicately negotiated settlement that will  make Illinois the last of 50 states to allow the carrying of concealed  weapons.

Lawmakers approved concealed carry in May after a federal appeals court ruled  it is unconstitutional for the state to prohibit it.

Gun-rights supporters pushed through the House a concealed carry initiative  which invalidated all local ordinances regulating guns. Chicago Democrats in the  Senate demanded that Chicago be allowed to keep its ban on assault-style rifles,  leading to the compromise allowing those places without such bans 10 days to  enact them.

“I just don’t see the place for it. I’m not against people having guns, not  at all,” said Melrose Park Mayor Ron Serpico, whose village board unanimously  voted for a ban in late June. “The thing I can’t get my arms around, I know when  the Constitution was passed, I don’t think they could envision these types of  guns.”

Along with the dozen communities banning them, Deerfield officials voted not  to ban the weapons but adopted storage regulations. Outside the Chicago area,  only a couple communities requested information from Simon when she urged cities  in early June to consider bans. None followed up.

Lawmakers adopted the concealed carry legislation by margins large enough to  invalidate Gov. Pat Quinn’s amendatory veto of the bill on Tuesday. Quinn called  the initiative “flawed” and along with tougher restrictions, suggested there be  no time limit on enacting local assault-weapons bans.

The Highland Park City Council agreed with Quinn’s contention that larger  cities with “home rule” powers should have a say on semi-automatic weapons and  high-capacity ammunition feeders.

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