Evanston aldermen Monday unanimously adopted a revised assault weapons ban that drew support even from some gun rights advocates who had opposed earlier versions of the ordinance.

When the City Council last debated the issue a week ago, Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, said he saw several problems with the wording of the ordinance — that it would ban hunting rifles and similar guns the council didn’t mean to ban, but would also fail to ban some weapons that it did want to outlaw.

The revisions narrow ban to prohibit only rifles with a magazine capacty of 15 or more rounds, shotguns with detachable magazines holding six or more rounds or with a revolving cylinder and handguns with a detachable magazine and any of several additional features including a secondary grip, a folding stock, a barrel shroud or a detachable magazine outside the pistol grip.

The revisions also would permit federally licensed gun collectors to posses assault weapons.

The ordinance provides penalties of a $1,500 fine and up to six months in jail for each violation.

Most speakers during public comment on the issue supported the ordinance, including some gun owners who said the revisions had answered their concerns that guns they owned would be outlawed.

But one spokesman for a gun rights group said the ordinance was still unacceptable and repeated a threat to file suit to have it overturned.

Top: An image of a modified AR-15 assault rifle from Wikimedia user Agauthier.

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Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Void for vagueness

    Even though all citizens should loathe any criminal ordinance whose purpose is wholly symbolic, this is probably the best outcome given the city council we have. They get to feel all warm and fuzzy for doing the politically correct thing, and we get a law that is totally unenforceable and void on its face.

    Finally, I just want to remind everyone again that more people are killed by beatings than by ALL rifles each year, and "assault" rifles are just a subset of that tiny number of rifle killings. Google the FBI statistics. And Chief Eddington conceded that an assault weapon has never been used in an Evanston crime, at least to his knowledge. It's great that Evanston is so idyllic that the city council can address problems that don't even exist, isn't it?



    1. Better chance

      Better chance you'll survive a beating than a gun. If you're going to start throwing out facts without numbers look up the percentage of people that died from guns compared to beatings. Just because there were more beatings doesn't mean the percentage of people that died from them was higher.

      1. Facts exist whether or not we validate/measure them

        So your rebuttal to "throwing out facts without numbers" is…throwing out facts without numbers? 

        While you're at it, please consider one fact that hasn't been measured:

        -The number of crimes and deaths prevented by guns.

        Should we ignore the benefits simply because we haven't the ability to properly measure them?


      2. Ok

        Not really sure what your point is here. More people are killed by beatings than rifles. Being killed by an assault weapon is so unlikely that it's not worth worrying about, and certainly not worth creating pointless laws to prevent. But you are correct that a gunshot wound is dangerous to your health.

      3. Murder Circumstances by

        Murder Circumstances by Weapon, 2011:

        Handguns: 6,220

        Rifles: 323

        Shotguns: 356

        Other guns or type not stated: 1,684

        Knives or cutting instruments: 1,694

        Blunt objects (clubs, hammers, etc.): 496

        Personal weapons (hands, fists, feet, etc.): 726

        According to those statistics, 1,222 people were killed by beating and only 323 by rifle, much less by assault rifle. The "other guns" category makes things a bit unclear, but I think the point still stands.

  2. Any exemption for the police?

    If the new ordinance prohibits semi auto pistols (handguns with a detachable magazine) is there an exemption for police officers who all carry this type of weapon or do they have to repurchase and reissue six shot revolvers?

    1. Semi auto pistols are fine

      To be considered an "assault" weapon under this very confused ordinance, a semi auto pisto has to have some other "scary" feature: 

      (1) Any feature capable of functioning as a protruding grip that
      can be held by the non-trigger hand;
      (2) A folding, telescoping or thumbhole stock;
      (3) A shroud attached to the barrel, or that partially or
      completely encircles the barrel, allowing the bearer to hold
      the firearm with the non-trigger hand without being burned,
      but excluding a slide that encloses the barrel; or
      (4) The capacity to accept a detachable magazine at some
      location outside of the pistol grip.

      So unless these cops are carrying TEC-9s or similar, they're ok.

  3. What about law enforcement?

    Will there be a provision for law enforcement officers who are authorized and or required to possess an AR15 or M4 for specialized units such as HBT or RRU? There are other law enforcement officers living in Evanston from other jurisdictions that will require a waiver or exemption of some type.

  4. These laws are meaningless

    These laws are meaningless to me. I've lived in Evanston for 35 years. During that time, I kept several guns in my house, including the entire time when guns were prohibited. If someone broke into my house and threatened the lives of my wife or children, I was going to kill them, law or no law. I hate to think what might have happened if the police had tried to come into my house and take my means of self-defense away….

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