Highland Park reopens debate on assault weapons ban
BY KAREN BERKOWITZ firstname.lastname@example.org July 4, 2013 3:44PM
Updated: August 6, 2013 6:09AM
Two weeks after adopting an assault weapons ban, the Highland Park City Council has reopened the debate.
Highland Park officials are offering citizens the opportunity to make suggestions for minor modifications and amendments to address issues raised by residents during the debate. Council members voted June 24 to adopt the ban before a new Illinois law would have prevented such action in the future. With little time to draft new legislation, the city council approved an ordinance modeled after Cook County’s assault weapons ban, which already had been sustained by the Illinois Supreme Court.
Suggestions for amendments and modifications should be submitted, in writing, to the City Manager, 1707 St. Johns Ave., Highland Park, IL 60035. Suggestions also may be submitted by email to email@example.com.
The council’s sense of urgency was motivated by Illinois House Bill 183, which primarily allows gun owners to obtain permits to carry concealed weapons in most public places. The bill also preempts local ordinances that restrict possession of firearms. An exception was made for home rule municipalities with assault weapons bans, provided those bans were enacted within 10 days of the effective date of the state law. Those ordinances could be amended in the future.
Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering has not yet signed the Highland Park ordinance, according to a release issued Tuesday, July 2, by the city of Highland Park.
“Our goal is to address our community’s right to take representative action under Home Rule. What that action is, should be discussed in a timely, thoughtful manner. Unfortunately, the State of Illinois hasn’t provided us that opportunity,” Rotering said at the time of the vote. “Failure to take action in the short-term, results in an inability to take action in the long-term.”
Illinois Gov. Patrick Quinn used his amendatory veto powers Tuesday to insert changes in the concealed weapons bill that passed both chambers May 31 with the required three-fifths vote. One of Quinn’s changes would do away with the 10-day window and preserve the right of home rule municipalities to enact future bans on assault weapons.
The Illinois General Assembly may reconvene as early as Monday, July 8, to consider overriding Quinn’s veto. After finding Illinois law banning concealed weapons unconstitutional, the Seventh U.S. District Circuit Court of Appeals gave Illinois lawmakers until July 9 to change the law to allow gun owners to carry concealed weapons.