Evanston aldermen voted to introduce an assault weapons ban Monday night despite threats from gun lovers to sue to overturn it.

Swayed by testimony from residents who had lost children to gun violence, the City Council moved the ordinance toward expected adoption in two weeks.

Carolyn Murray, of 1930 Grey Ave., accompanied by members of what she called a “morbid mom’s club” of other survivors, showed aldermen the blood-spattered shirt worn by a friend of her 19-year-old son Justin, who held Justin as he bled to death after being gunned down on the sidewalk outside his grandmother’s house last November.

Top: Carolyn Murray. Above: Wanda Reed.

Wanda Reed, who ran the inside suspension program for 24 years at Evanston Township High School, said the community needs to work together “to save the babies.”

“If something isn’t done” about gun violence, Reed said, “It’s going to get worse.”

To gun owners concerned about how a ban might hamper their target-shooting hobby, Reed said, “I ask you to put yourself aside and think about these little kids who can’t even come out of doors and play.”

Jordan Zoot.

But Jordan Zoot, of 617 Grove St., said Chicago and Oak Park had to pay $1.5 million to gun-advocates’ attorneys after losing their effort to preserve a ban on handguns in the wake of an adverse Supreme Court decision.

And he predicted that an assault weapons ban could lead to similar legal expenses for Evanston.

Blair Garber.

Blair Garber, of 1200 Lee St., the Evanston Township Republican Committeeman, said that of all the murders in Evanston, none have been committed with the type of firearms that the city is proposing to ban.

“You’re going to take law abiding citizens and gun owners and turn them into criminals,” Garber said.

“A gun in the hands of a good person is no harm to anyone,” Garber added, “but any gun in the hands of a bad person is a danger to all.”

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Sorry, too late.

    "A gun in the hands of a good person is no harm to anyone," Garber added, "but any gun in the hands of a bad person is a danger to all."

    Sorry, when the trigger is pulled, it's too late to separate the good persons from the bad.

    1. When was the last time

      When was the last time someone in Evasnton was shot by a registered, law abiding gun holder?  I'll wait. Let me know.

    2. Farcical reasoning?

      Sorry, when the trigger is pulled, it's too late to separate the good persons from the bad.

      Such abstruse lines of reasoning would abdicate the defense of any through any means (i.e. police, military et al). Furthermore, there has been no moral objective justification for the intherent evil of taking another's life in a defense scenario.


      1. ‘Inherent evil’ in self defense?

        "Furthermore, there has been no moral objective justification for the intherent evil of taking another's life in a defense scenario."

        It's called "I have a right to live, my life is threatened, and I intend to defend it".

        This "assault weapon ban" is a farce…feel-good nonsense for the politicians to look good, while they dodge the real issues breeding crime in society today. Makes me glad that I left Evanston!

    3. Intellectually disengenuous

      In response to Mr. Zbesko's statement, "Sorry, when the trigger is pulled, it's too late to separate the good persons from the bad."

      That statement is intellectually disengenuous in its arbitrary determination of morality.  When the trigger is pulled, whether it is right or wrong is entirely dependent on the intent of the person pulling the trigger.  A person defending themselves, a neighbor, or loved one against an immoral/unlawful attack is indisputably acting on the side of good.

    4. Don’t give up your liberties

      Passing a "law" that is basically some ink on a piece of paper is not going to stop a criminal from doing wrong. If it were so, perhaps we should pass one of these very powerful pieces of paper and ban murder, rape, and assault. While we are at it, let's do laws for heroine, cocaine, and financial crimes as well.

      Wait. Those laws already exist, and are still broken.

      So all your fancy paper law is gonna do is restrict "good" and leave the "bad" laughing at you.

      Don't be so quick to give up your liberties under the guise of "safety." Just ask the people in Syria and other oppressed countries.

    5. There is a difference

      There is a difference…  Good people pull the trigger in self defense. Bad people pull the trigger to assault.

    6. Anti-gun’s favorite weapon

      There it is: the anti-gun's favorite weapon: The assumption that all it takes to turn a good person bad is to have easy access to a gun. No trust, no respect for his neighbors or anyone in his community. Shame on you.

      Notice your neighbors also have easy access to knives and baseball bats. Have they come after you with those yet? I'm sure it's just a matter of time.

  2. More pointless feel good

    More pointless feel good liberal legislation.  None of the gang bangers are shooting anyone with "assault guns." All of the recent shootings lead to charges of "unlawful dischange of a firearm."  Uh..if someone shoots at another person with a gun that attempted muder right? Nope.  Instead they'll lkill someone 6 months later. Lets deal with crime the smart way. This ban will have no effect on gun violence. ZERO.

  3. Gun lovers?

    Dear Bill,

    This is a great site and what you do is a tremendous public service for the city. It's amazing how much you cover with the resources of this site.

    In addition, your writing is almost always neutral, objective, and journalistic in the best way. But I'd say this article is an exception. Did any of the public commenters say they "loved" guns? If not, would you refer to pro-choice commenters as "abortion lovers"? Maybe "gun rights advocates" would be a better term.

    It seems like most of the opposition to the AWB isn't rooted in any intrinsic love of guns. It's based on concerns about overcriminalization of harmless conduct, pointless exposure of the city to legal liability, and the irrationality of addressing gun crime by banning tools that aren't used at all in Evanston gun crime.

    I'm sure the comments from murder victims' relatives were powerful last night. But "assault weapons" were not used in those murders, and banning them will not prevent such murders in the future. It will criminalize otherwise lawful citizens and tie up the resources of the Law Department for years to come.

  4. Never too late

    John, good people do not pull the trigger (in fact, they do not put their finger on the trigger) if the muzzle is not pointed at what they are not intending to hit. And, they do not point the muzzle at what they are not intending to hit.

    Gun control INCREASES crime and violence for a very obvious reason. The easier you make something, the more who will do it. If you leave the door of your home open, a number of people will enter and take your stuff. If you close the door but leave it unlocked, fewer people will enter. If you lock the door, even fewer. If you put up a sign indicating an alarm exist, even fewer. You cannot keep out a determined professional, but you can reduce the amount of intrusions.

    When perpetrators of violence know their victims and those surrounding their victims are unarmed, more perpetrators will commit acts of violence. When they know the people are armed or could be, fewer will.

    Gun control makes violence easier, and increases the violence.

    If you love children and want them to be safe, then you support conceal carry and oppose AWB.

  5. Trying too hard to sound profound

    The comment about pulling the trigger was absurd. Trying too hard to sound profound.

  6. The root causes are difficult…

    There's a huge gang problem. There's a huge drug problem. There's a huge broken-family problem.

    Yeah, let's ban guns, that'll fix all that.

  7. Nothing but a ‘feel good’ ordinance

    This ban is a "feel good" ordinance and nothing else. It will NOT prevent or reduce crime in Evanston. The ban is also being introduced for political gain for our mayor and alderman. Just another update for their resume so they can edvance higher in this state and beyond.

  8. Attempting to apply logic

    "of all the murders in Evanston, none have been committed with the type of firearms that the city is proposing to ban."

    I see why some of my fellow gun owners believe there is a conspiracy against them; they are attempting to apply logic where none exists.

  9. Assault(-type) Weapons Bans

    Ever notice how the anti-gunners never explain the relationships between the shooters and the victims or how many times the shooters were gang members, felons or repeat-offense criminals?

    I have great sympathy for the truly innocent victims. Gun violence must stop. Lawmakers are ignoring the root causes. If I am a law-abiding FOID cardholder who owns an AR-15, why should I be forbidden from continuing to own it? I will use it only to defend myself against criminals and all enemies, foreign and domestic.

  10. Why don’t people get it?

    Doesn't anyone think about reality? This would do absolutely zero to reduce crime or the deaths of children.  If someone lives in Evanston, (or they come there to do harm with a gun), what is the point of this silly ordinance. In Highland Park (another town without one single "assault weapon" murder), they said they want to avoid another Sandy Hook. Do people honestly believe that a person who goes into a school with any gun, with the intent of harming children, actually gives a rat's ass if his weapon or magazines and legal? The Cook County ban has not been enforced for 5 years due to ongoing legal battles. When Wilson vs Cook County is finally resolved, the ban on the most popular rifle in America, and it's standard size magazine, will be deemed to be unconstitutional for any weapon in common use. Get your checkbooks ready, idiots.

  11. Ban away

    Way to go council – stay strong! We support you!  Keep it going and get rid of all guns, we don't want them here.

    1. You’re advocating for the

      You're advocating for the city council to violate the Constitution. I hope you're aware of that and take it seriously.

  12. When was the last time

    "When was the last time someone in Evasnton was shot by a registered, law abiding gun holder?  I'll wait. Let me know."

    Hmmmm, well, how do you think criminals acquire guns in the first place? They get them from initially legal purchases – either they were stolen or someone who purchased it legally turned around and sold it to them  (straw purchase). This is why reducing the number of guns in a community is a good thing. 

    1. it's a fact that guns frequently end up in the wrong hands

    2. it's a fact that every criminal was at one point NOT a criminal. That means logically they could own a gun legally at one point, commit a crime and  become a person prohibited from gun ownership. But they still have that gun that they were able to get BEFORE they committed their first crime.

    This is why we need much stricter gun control. We need a federal registry and regular psychological testing of anyone who wants to own a gun.

  13. AWB or actually address the crime problem

    Here are several points that need to be added to the discussion: 1. The Evanston Police Chief confirmed that there has not been a crime [other than a probation or parole violation] let alone a murder committed in Evanston involving an "assault rifle". 2. The $3-4 million in legal fees that Evanston is potentially facing if required to pay the winning sides legal if the law was to fail could be better spent on School Resource Officers, extra police and programs to deal with gang and drug related violence in West Evanston. 3. Not a single one of the speakers with children that were victims of gun violence involved an assault rifle…GUN VIOLENCE IS A PROBLEM IN EVANSTON, assault rifles are NOT. 4. The City Council should have the wisdom and the guts to tackle the actual problem of gangs, drugs and gun violence. There is a Cook County AWB in the Courts….Evanston should undertake that which benefits the community immediately, not enact a bandaid piece of legislation that might be summarized this way: Could a Sandy Hook happen in Evanston? YES SURE Would an "assault weapon ban" do anything to prevent or mitigate the chance of it" NOT AT ALL

    To conclude…..the smart choice is to allocate funds to deal with gangs, drugs and gun violence. Modern sporting rifles which the ordinance improperly refers to as assault rifles are not part of the problem. It would make much more sense to have the support of the shooting community with efforts like working with EPD to provide proper training for individuals that make the CHOICE to obtain a concealed carry permit, and creating sensitivity between law enforcement and legal concealed carry holders so that when they interact in a situation such as a traffic stop that the potential for a tragedy is avoided. It is tragic that some of the parents that spoke at the meeting lost children to stabbings and handgun violence….however, it is NOT directly relevant to an attempt to classify certain types of modern sporting rifles as "assault weapons, make criminals out of previously law abiding citizens, and seek to confiscate their firearms without compensation….that is an invitation for litigation.

    1. What’s new

      There is nothing new here. The city council, mayor, and Wally have been gambling with the taxpayer money for years. A law suite here, a parking lot there, a theatre on Howard, etc.. They must think it is funny. It is not their money. We should thank them for spending like drunken sailors, keeping taxes high, driving businesses out of town, paying new companies to come into Evanston, and passing high risk laws.

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