City Council to introduce assault weapons ban

Ciara McCarthy, Summer Reporter

Evanston aldermen will start weighing an assault weapons ban Monday as they seek to pass gun control legislation before a state proposal possibly prevents them from doing so.

City Council will consider an ordinance to ban the possession, transfer, sale or display of assault weapons within city limits, with exceptions for law enforcement and military, according to the packet for its meeting next week. The ordinance would also redefine Evanston’s definition of assault weapons, drawing on Chicago’s and Cook County’s similar use of specific features to categorize a firearm.

City Council asked the Evanston law department to draft the ordinance June 10 after several residents voiced their concern over the implications of the concealed-carry debate in Springfield.

Both houses in the Illinois General Assembly approved legislation at the end of May that would allow both residents and non-residents to apply for licenses to carry concealed guns. An assembly bill is awaiting Gov. Pat Quinn’s signature.

The legislation was spurred by a federal appeals court’s deadline for Illinois to craft a new law after its last-in-the-nation concealed-carry ban was struck down.

The state measure, however, contains a small loophole: Local legislation prohibiting the possession or ownership of assault weapons is permitted if enacted before, on or within 10 days of the state bill being signed into law. Otherwise, the bill overrides local regulation of concealed handguns on most fronts, ranging from their registration to transportation.

Marjorie Fujara, a representative of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, urged the council earlier this month to pursue the ban and expressed her overall disappointment with the concealed carry bill.

“Assault weapons have no role in our civilized society,” said Fujara, an Evanston resident. “I put shame on the gun manufacturers for marketing these as sporting rifles when they are weapons of war, weapons of mass destruction.”

Ciara McCarthy