Written by Pam DeFiglio
When Skokie Mayor George Van Dusen opened up the floor of Monday's village board meeting to comments on the village's proposed assault weapons ban, many people got up to form a line at the podium.
More than an hour passed as 33 people, including several from outside Skokie, spoke. Most said the village would be infringing on the rights of law-abiding gun owners if it passed the ban; however some urged the board to pass the ban. After discussion, the trustees voted unanimously to pass it.
Earlier: Skokieans speak passionately on both sides of gun issue at June 17 meeting
The ban includes two parts. The first bans certain types of semi-automatic rifles and shotguns, as specified below in the full text of the ordinance, or at this link, about 55 percent of the way down. The second part requires safe storage of guns, and specified ways that can be done.
The ordinance had to be voted on now in order to legally fit into a short window of time set by the state, Michael Lorge, the village attorney, explained.
The Illinois legislature passed a bill May 31 permitting concealed carry of guns, at the behest of a federal appeals court. Gov. Pat Quinn has yet to sign the bill, and if and when he does, that will open a 10-day window in which municipalities can enact gun-related legislation, as long as it doesn't violate concealed carry, according to the State Journal Register.
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During the public comment period before the Skokie board vote Monday, Mike Weisman of DuPage County, who identified himself as the second vice president of the Illinois State Rifle Association, said, "This would ban the most popular civiliarn firearm sold in the past five years."
When Mark Rubert of Skokie took the podium, he said, "Criminals will not obey the law. Gun laws only affect honest citizens."
Tony Kuhry of Skokie requested the board grandfather in the guns of those who currently own them in Skokie.
A man who said he was from Melbourne Beach, Fla., said he went through rigorous amounts of training to get his concealed carry permit in that state.
Denyse Wang Stoneback told the board that assault weapons are made for war; not hunting or self-defense, and some can shoot 50 or 60 rounds in a minute.
The Aurora, Colo. shooter killed 12 and wounded 58, and the toll would have been higher had his weapon not jammed, she said. Such weapons are being used for enjoyment and entertainment, she added.
"I’m asking you to consider, if a person's right to enjoyment or entertainment in shooting an AR-15, does that trump another person's right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," she asked.Nancy Gurny of Skokie said she had recently read a study in the May 2013 issue of Scientific American that a gun is more likely to be used in a homicide, suicide or accident than in self-defense.
"My concern is more for the safety of children than assault gun owners," she said.
Ellen Chiocca of Evanston said she was a pediatric nurse and had seen some horrible effects of what guns can do to children. She said she had grown used to the cries of mothers, but is still spooked by the howling of fathers screaming because of what happened to a child who found and played with a gun that was not locked up.
The full text of the ordinance is below.
Full Text of Ordinance
Ordinance, Code Amendment, Chapter 70, Assault WeaponsTHIS ORDINANCE MAY BE CITED AS VILLAGE ORDINANCE NUMBER 13-7-C- AN ORDINANCE AMENDING CHAPTER 70, ARTICLE V, DIVISION 2 OF THE SKOKIE VILLAGE CODE BY ADDING SECTIONS 70-188 THROUGH 70-191 PERTAINING TO ASSAULT WEAPONS 1 WHEREAS, the State of Illinois House Bill 183 (hereinafter “HB183”), which the Illinois legislature passed on May 31, 2013, states that gun regulation is the exclusive power and function of the State of Illinois and preempts home rule municipalities from enacting local gun regulations, ostensibly to establish uniformity of gun regulation throughout the State of Illinois; and WHEREAS, HB183 makes one exception to the preemption of home rule concerning gun regulation, exclusively in regard to assault weapons but fails to provide a definition of assault weapons for the State of Illinois; and WHEREAS, HB183 provides a single home rule right for municipalities to regulate the 10 possession and ownership of assault weapons requiring that the home rule municipality enact it, on, before or within 10 days after the effective date of HB183 or be foreclosed from ever taking such action; and WHEREAS, the Village of Skokie is a home rule municipality pursuant to the Illinois Constitution and as such, is granted the authority to exercise any power and perform any function pertaining to its government and affairs; and WHEREAS, HB183 is currently pending action by the Governor of the State of Illinois which could occur at any time and possibly at a time that would leave more than 10 days to the next Village of Skokie Board Meeting; and WHEREAS, Cook County, the City of Chicago and many nearby municipalities have adopted or are considering assault weapon ordinances, which define assault weapons and ban possession and ownership of assault weapons, as a result of HB 183; and WHEREAS, assault weapon regulation is an emotional issue for many residents on both sides of the issue, as a result of personal experiences, ideological concerns and horrific national events and the Mayor and Board of Trustees listened extensively to their concerns and opinions; and WHEREAS, assault weapons are inherently more lethal than other weapons by their design, including the capability of a rapid rate of fire and application, including capability to fire large number of rounds of ammunition and law enforcement associations recommend regulation of certain assault weapons to restrict access to significant firepower by criminals and individuals at risk of doing harm to themselves or others; and age 2 of 5DOCS #432727v1, Ordinance, Code Amendment, Chapter 70, Assault Weapons WHEREAS, the size of an assault weapon magazine can affect law enforcement's ability to deal with an individual who is using an assault weapon for a killing rampage or other criminal activity and provide opportunities for law enforcement to intercede in such violence when the perpetrator has to switch magazines; and WHEREAS, legislation concerning gun regulation, including assault weapons and the definition of an assault weapon should be established at the State government or Federal government level and that the failure of State and Federal governmental bodies to do so is an abdication of their responsibility; and WHEREAS, it would be imprudent to fail to enact any ordinance because of the fluid and evolving law concerning assault weapons at the State and Federal level and because of the unknown consequences and unintended collateral impact of being foreclosed from ever establishing such regulation; and WHEREAS, it is prudent to enact a limited or narrow ordinance to satisfy the constricted time constraints of HB183, with the expectation that it could be amended or repealed at a future date, if deemed to be appropriate; and WHEREAS, it would be beneficial for the safety of residents of the Village of Skokie, and aid law enforcement officials of the Village of Skokie, if a certain category of assault weapons, when not in use, were subject to safe storage and security regulations to protect against accidental, unauthorized or illegal use and that such regulation would be supported by thoughtful individuals on either side of the assault weapon issue; and WHEREAS, the Mayor and Board of Trustees reviewed Corporation Counsel's memorandum concerning HB183 at its June 17, 2013 Village Board Meeting and heard comments from 16 individuals, who both supported and opposed assault weapon ordinances; and WHEREAS, Chapter 70, Article V, Division 2 of the Skokie Village Code provides for offenses affecting public safety with regard to firearms; and WHEREAS, in order to implement regulations regarding assault weapons pursuant to the reasons outlined above, the Corporation Counsel recommended to the Mayor and Board of Trustees that Chapter 70, Article V, Division 2, be amended to add Sections 70-188 through Section 70-191 to the Skokie Village Code; and WHEREAS, the Mayor and Board of Trustees at a public meeting duly held on July 1, 2013, concurred in the recommendation of the Corporation Counsel; and NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED, by the Mayor and Board of Trustees of the Village of Skokie, Cook County, Illinois; Section 1: Chapter 70, Article V, Division 2 of the Skokie Village Code be and the same is hereby amended in the manner hereinafter indicated. The new material is highlighted in bold. Section 70-188 Definitions. age 3 of 5DOCS #432727v1, Ordinance, Code Amendment, Chapter 70, Assault Weapons The following terms as they appear in this Article, shall have the meaning ascribed below: (a) Assault Weapon Category 1 shall mean and include the following firearms and parts: 1. Semi-automatic action, rifles with a detachable or fixed magazine with a capacity of fifteen (15) or more rounds. 2. Semi-automatic shotguns with a folding stock or a magazine capacity of more than six (6) rounds. 3. Firearms which have been modified to be operable as an assault weapon as defined above. 4. Parts designed to modify a firearm so it can operate as an assault weapon as defined above, including a detachable magazine with a capacity of fifteen (15) or more rounds. (b) Assault Weapon Category 2 shall mean and include the following 16 firearms and parts: 1. Semi-automatic action rifles with any detachable or fixed magazine or shroud around the barrel or grip that can be held by the non-trigger hand. 2. Semi-automatic shotguns with a folding stock or a detachable or fixed magazine or shroud around the barrel or grip that can be held by the non-trigger hand. 3. Semi-automatic pistols with any detachable or fixed magazine or capable of attaching a magazine other than in the pistol grip. 4. Firearms which have been modified to be operable as an assault weapon as defined above. 5. Parts designed to modify a firearm so it can operate as an assault weapon as defined above, including a detachable magazine with a capacity of fifteen (15) or more rounds. (c) Magazine shall mean and include any container such as a box, clip or drum which attaches to, holds and feeds ammunition into a semi-33 automatic rifle. (d) Rifle shall mean and include a firearm designed, made or retrofitted (1) to be fired from the shoulder or hip; and (2) uses the energy of the explosive in a fixed cartridge to fire only a single projectile through a rifled bore for each single pull of the trigger and shall include any such weapon which may be readily assembled, altered or restored to fire a fixed cartridge. age 4 of 5DOCS #432727v1, Ordinance, Code Amendment, Chapter 70, Assault Weapons1 (e) Semi-automatic shall mean and include a firearm which fires a single 2 projectile for each single pull of the trigger which automatically inserts 3 the next round for firing into the firearm chamber using a magazine. 4 5 (f) Shotgun shall mean and include a firearm designed, made or retrofitted 6 (1) to be fired from the shoulder or hip; and (2) uses the energy of the 7 explosive in a fixed shotgun shell to fire a number of projectiles or a 8 single projectile for each pull of the trigger and shall include any such 9 weapon which may be readily assembled, altered or restored to fire a 10 fixed shotgun shell. 11 12 Section 70-189 Unlawful Possession of Assault Weapons. 13 14 (a) It shall be unlawful to own or possess within the Village of Skokie a weapon 15 or weapon part defined by Section 70-188(a). 16 17 (b) It shall be unlawful to own or possess within the Village of Skokie a 18 magazine defined by Section 70-188(a) which can hold or may be modified to hold 19 fifteen (15) or more rounds. 20 21 Section 70-190 Safe Storage of Allowed Assault Weapons. 22 23 It shall be unlawful to store, transport or keep any firearm defined by Section 24 70-188(b) in the Village of Skokie, unless such firearm is secured in a locked 25 container or safe, or equipped with a tamper-resistant mechanical lock, trigger lock, 26 gun lock or other mechanical or electronic safety device, engaged so as to keep the 27 firearm inoperable when not in actual use. 28 29 Section 70-191 Exceptions. 30 31 The provisions of Sections 70-189 through 70-190 do not apply to (i) any law 32 enforcement officer, agent or employee of any municipality of the State of Illinois (ii) 33 any law enforcement officer, agent or employee of the State of Illinois, of the United 34 States or of any other state (iii) any active member of the military or other service of 35 any state or the United States, including national guard and reserves, if the person 36 described is on duty and is authorized by a competent authority to so carry an 37 assault weapon loaded on a public way and such person is acting within the scope of 38 his duties or training.39 40 Section 2: Should any existing section of the Skokie Village Code be in conflict 41 with any provision of this Ordinance, the aforementioned section is hereby repealed upon 42 the effective date of this Ordinance after its adoption. 43 44 Section 3: Should any part of the provisions, language or definitions of this 45 Ordinance be ruled unenforceable or unconstitutional or otherwise made invalid, the 46 remaining provisions, language and definitions shall remain in full force and effect. 47 48 Section 4: This Ordinance shall be in full force upon and after its passage, 49 approval and publication in pamphlet form as provided by law. age 5 of 5DOCS #432727v1, Ordinance, Code Amendment, Chapter 70, Assault Weapons1 Section 5: The effective date of this Ordinance shall be simultaneous with the 2 enactment of House Bill 183 into law for the State of Illinois.