The scramble to outlaw assault weapons — and the pushback against such bans — continues in various Chicago-area communities in the short window of time allowed by the state's new concealed carry gun law.
Already this week, Evanston delayed a vote on a ban, Park Ridge backed away from any new gun restrictions and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel called a special City Council meeting for next week to consider his proposal.
Taking advantage of a provision in the state's new concealed carry law that gives communities until 10 days after its enactment to adopt or revise assault weapons bans, suburbs including Highland Park and Melrose Park have adopted new gun restrictions in recent weeks. Several other towns, including Wheeling, have rejected bans — often amid strong opposition from gun rights supporters.
On Monday, Evanston officials heard emotional pleas both for and against a ban.
Local resident Mike Morand said he wants to protect the rights of his young daughter to own an assault rifle when she grows up.
"These laws aren't going to save one child of Evanston," he said. "I want my daughter's rights ... maintained. To me that's a lot more important than banning. The bans just don't work."
Among those speaking out in favor of a local ban on "terrible" assault weapons was Carolyn Murray, a longtime local anti-violence advocate whose 19-year-old son Justin was gunned down last year.
"This has got to stop," she told the council. "Please help us."
Ultimately, city officials said they needed more time to work on the wording of the proposed ban, which Ald. Donald Wilson said could have unintended consequences in its current form.
He also said the ordinance didn't go far enough in defining which weapons would be banned. He also said he was concerned that the current language would ban ordinary hunting rifles, a restriction he said the council did not intend.
After hearing strong opposition from its residents, Park Ridge leaders decided Monday to sidestep such questions altogether and not pursue local restrictions.
"The state should have leadership on this, and the laws they put in place are what we should follow," said Ald. Joseph Sweeney. "I don't think we need to create any new laws for the city."
In Chicago, the mayor on Tuesday called a special council meeting for July 17 to consider his proposed assault weapons ban and another law that would increase penalties for guns near schools.
"These dangerous weapons can wreak havoc in a matter of minutes, as we have seen too often on our streets," Emanuel said when he introduced the ban in June. "They have no place in our city, and we'll do whatever is necessary to make sure we have a strong law in place."
Cox is a freelance reporter; Bullington is a staff reporter. Tribune reporter Hal Dardick contributed.