Evanston aldermen approved revisions to the city’s gun control ordinance tonight designed to bring it in line with a recent Supreme Court ruling.

The National Rifle Association sued Evanston and other Illinois communities with gun bans after the court ruled in June that a gun ban in Washington, D.C., is unconstitutional.

In response the city’s legal staff drafted a new ordinance that would let most residents keep guns in their homes, but ban possession of most guns by minors and of all guns by narcotics addicts, mental patients, the mentally retarded and persons under 21 years of age with criminal records.

Despite pleas from gun control advocates at the council’s last meeting to stiffen the ordinance, the version the council adopted tonight is identical to the one proposed by the city’s legal staff.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, said in support of the decision to modify the ordinance that the city of Chicago, which so far has refused to modify its gun ban “is starting to see that they could spend the entire city budget defending the ordinance if they leave it alone.”

The revision of the Evanston ordinance is expected to lead to the dismissal of the NRA suit against the city.

City attorney Elke Tober-Purze said that the ordinance does not include several issues that are covered under state criminal statutes.

“Criminal charges should be prosecuted under state law,” Tober-Purze said, “They do fingerprinting and create a criminal record. I don’t think you want to prosecute felons under a local ordinance.”

Rainey suggested that the city might want to consider printing the names of all those who have state firearms cards in the local paper.

“Do you want your grandchild going to visit someone who has a gun?” Rainey asked. But no action was taken on that suggestion.

Police Chief Richard Eddington said he would recommend against establishing a local registration program for firearms owners. He said the cost of the program couldn’t be justified under the city’s tight budget. In addition, Eddington said, the registration program would depend on everybody telling the truth, “which in my professional opinion isn’t always true.”

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Odd comment
    Ald. Rainey’s suggestion of printing every gun owners name in the paper is childish at best. What does she hope to prove by her ‘scarlet letter’ approach?

    If it is now legal to possess a handgun in this city then why would she want to print the names of law-abiding citizens? Does she somehow think this will shame handgun owners into giving up their legal rights? Why is she selectively focusing her questiont towards grandparents? Does she believe they have more influence than the parents?

    I find Ald. Rainey’s comment very peculiar if not disturbing for it’s implied threat of public castigation.

    As has been shown on numerous occasions, the comments from this current mix of Council members has been (at the risk of generalizing) shortsighted, stubborn, and at times vindictive. Politicians in the truest sense.

    1. agreed – a very strange comment by Rainey
      The “Scarlet Letter” approach will never work because we the people won’t allow it to work. We run this show, not the City Council. This is still a democracy, right? Yes, it is. We decide, and according to a recent Chicago Tribune poll, 76% of Chicago-area residents are pro-gun. I’m looking for a link to that poll and will post it here once found.

      The Evanston handgun ban has been unconstitutional from the beginning (clealy unconstitutional…..no law degree required), so owning a gun in Evanston has never really been illegal. These are not the people who cause violent crime.

      Did you go through the background check and get your FOID? Yeah? Then get a gun and never tell anyone. It’s just that simple.


  2. FOID safety
    I think that there may be legal issues with printing the names of legal firearms owners and it does not address the issue of illegally possessed guns.
    Perhaps the city could make available stickers and maybe bumper stickers that said something like “Kid Friendly, NO FIREARMS”. Along the lines of the old TOT FINDER stickers that alerted fireman to the presence of a child’s room?
    I don’t see how this could run afoul of any laws or group and once initiated there would be a certain amount of peer pressure to comply.

  3. printing names
    yeah, print the names and addresses of people with firearms and then come back in a year to study how the crime rate among gun owners is lower than those without firearms. Proceed to crumple up each page of the list so that Alderman Rainey can eat it.

  4. “Hand gun” homes
    I don’t think it’s necessary to print the names of handgun owners, but parents and guardians should consider asking the following question of homeowners whose children are hosting sleepovers: “Are there handguns or other weapons in your residence?”

  5. Sounds familiar
    Per the Trib, Evanston’s ordinance was among the nation’s most “progressive”. As usual, “progressive” = “unconstitutional”.

  6. Homes with guns
    “Do you want your grandchild going to visit someone who has a gun?”

    In this country, most homes have guns. My kids and grandkids are perfectly safe in my house, guns and all.

    Illinois is an anomaly and an affront to the founding fathers.

    What part of “Shall not be infringed” do you people not understand?

  7. Kids
    Well I’m not old enough to have grand kids, but my son is free to go to a home with a legal gun. After all, he lives in a home with legal guns.

    1. Do you reveal this to other parents?
      I have to say, I’d be concerned if I found out secondhand or after the fact that my son was at a home where there was a firearm. In the same way that I’d like to know any other safety hazards: do you have a pool, or a dog that’s not safe with children, and if so, how are those things handled. I feel I have a right to know before a playdate if you own a gun and how it’s kept safe.

      Would I refuse a playdate because you have a gun? It would depend on the circumstances – whether what you showed me made me feel you were a responsible gun owner or not.

      Find out more about Brummel Park Neighbors and Michele Hays

      1. Michele…
        “I have to say, I’d be concerned if I found out secondhand or after the fact that my son was at a home where there was a firearm.”

        Were you born & raised in the city or somewhere more rural? Have you been exposed to guns all your life or would you say that you have limited exposure to guns? Is your concern based on real-world experience, or just on what you’ve read in the various Chicago-based media?

        “In the same way that I’d like to know any other safety hazards: do you have a pool, or a dog that’s not safe with children, and if so, how are those things handled. I feel I have a right to know before a playdate if you own a gun and how it’s kept safe.”

        Me too. I always check if there is a pool, and these days I’d ask if there were a skateboard ramp involved. But…..before these details were discussed, I’d meet the parents/guardians. That should be the first step, every time. Do they seem shady or do they seem like normal, nice folk?

        “Would I refuse a playdate because you have a gun? It would depend on the circumstances – whether what you showed me made me feel you were a responsible gun owner or not.”

        Exactly – meet the folks first. What is your impression of the kid? If it doesn’t feel good, don’t schedule the playdate. You answered your own question with that one.

        If you met me, you’d probably think I was relatively smart, polite, funny and thoughtful. I live in Evanston and I now own a handgun.


        1. I’m more thoroughly exposed than I’d like to be, thank you
          I live just West of the corner of Howard and Custer (or Damen, if you’re in Chicago) I hear gunfire slightly less than once a month – which is down considerably from last year, when it was slightly less than every couple weeks. I’ve had to call 911 for a gunshot victim who wound up on my back porch, bleeding from a stomach wound. If you think I’m exaggerating, search the police blotter in the area surrounding Howard street (keeping in mind that it doesn’t include information from Chicago, which affects me, also – the victim above was shot on the other side of Howard, and so wouldn’t be in our police report.) Within a few blocks of my home, people have been in their rear, shot in the hand, or shot in the face – yes, I assume with illegally-obtained guns. Fortunately for me, these incidents most often happen at night, when our family is safe at home.

          I did grow up in a smaller city, where gun ownership was legal and ordinary, but where gun owners were hunters; nobody ever suggested they were a reasonable defense.

          If you’re implying that I think badly of legal gun owners, I don’t – though I sincerely doubt you’re safer than I am. I do, however, feel that I have a right to know about my son’s safety in other people’s homes – regarding guns or other hazards.

          Find out more about Brummel Park Neighbors and Michele Hays

          1. Michele – interesting.
            Michele – your story of about guns in YOUR neighborhood – tells me one thing – that YOUR neighborhood has problems – I realize you did not like the term “Slum” when I referred to the fact there were neighborhoods in town which have high crime. I realize you live in the south end of town and I live in the north end completely different areas – but the number of gun incidences does not appear to be depended on “legal or illegal” ownership but based on the neighborhood your live in. By the way I have never hear a gun shot up here in this end of town in the almost 25 years I have lived here.I recall only one gun incidence in the years I lived here a young adult had a gun in his house in Wilmette down the street from me and the police came – it was years ago – and they adventual took it away and no one was hurt.

            Yes your son could go to someones house who owns a gun – but the reality is he will soon be a teenage and you will not have that much control on where he goes.
            The reality here is very few if any innocent people have been killed by guns – mostly the criminal element – who seem to shoot one another all the time.
            Yes it is possible we could all be killed by a gun, but as you said you and your family are inside at night – and I for one do not travel into the neighborhoods that the city wants to pretend have no problems

          2. Public records
            Junad, this crusade of yours to reveal that the City is “covering up crime” makes you look ridiculous. All of the incidents I mentioned have been a matter of public record, and have recieved the police attention they should. In addition, you have yet to come up with a solution to this problem that is legal, further reducing your credibility. If I were you, I’d stop posting about it.

            Find out more about Brummel Park Neighbors and Michele Hays

          3. Re: Public records
            Michele – what is public record and what not is in the public record – is an interesting subject. You stated the that the one incidence was not a crime in Evanston since it happen in Chicago. – yet you were directly impacted by the event. How these incidences are record is also interesting since yes they are in the public record – but they don’t tell you much – good example they arrest 5 people for mob action – what does that mean – was there a mini-riot? they don’t state that – they don’t tell you that outside police department had to come into an area to stop a problem. May not be a cover up – but then again – they aren’t really talking about it either.

            Michele – I am not on a crusade – I find it interesting how public officials have respond to crime here or should I say their non-response.

            Also please explain to me what I have suggested that is illegal to solve the crime problem here?

      2. sure, it’s no secret
        Owning a gun isn’t something I feel one should be ashamed of. I am a legal gun owner. I even have my permit to carry. I’m quite public about it. I teach my son how to be safe around firearms and would never leave one unattended where children could get to it.

  8. Hey Ann Rainey…
    My name is Abraham McManus, I live on Emerson Street and I have a handgun in my house. I don’t care who knows. In fact, I want everyone to know. The more people who know, the safer I will feel. Especially in this town…with so many crazy alderpmen on the loose.


    1. Let them know
      I agree. There has been so many break-ins in Evanston and the intruder(s) don’t seem to care if you’re home or not. LET THEM KNOW.

  9. Instead of publishing the
    Instead of publishing the names of people who possess firearms, why not publish the names of people who don’t? That way everyone would know who’s “safe.” In fact, let’s require every household that doesn’t have firearms to post a nice, tasteful sign declaring that fact. You know, something like “THIS HOME IS A GUN FREE HOME.”

    It seems like there are moonbats everywhere. It’s nice to know that the People’s Republic of Massachusetts hasn’t cornered the market.

  10. No firearms stickers
    Go ahead and post a ( No Firearms ) sticker or sign on your home. The criminal element will thank you for this, as they will then know which houses it is safe to rob or just where they can go to rape without having to worry about someone in the home being able to defend themselves with a firearm. This will make it so much easier and safer for them plus saving them time and effort.

  11. What was Rainey really aiming for?
    I can’t speak for Ann Rainey (I like some of the things she has done for her ward) but I sure hope she was just speaking off the top of her head. Based on the story, I couldn’t tell if Rainey made an official motion to print the names of all those who have state firearms cards in the local paper or if she just made an innocuous suggestion with hopes of further discussion.

    If it was a simple suggestion then Rainey should try and think more before she speaks. If it was a serious run at approving a motion to print the names then Rainey should take a long, long vacation.

    The City Council should get down to business in balancing the budget with some tough cutting this year of city staff and duplicate social services and at the same time try to find ways to generate more revenue. Toying with the idea of challenging a Supreme Court decision is not a good start. Raising taxes is not the answer, either.

    Anonymous Al

    1. AL You need to come to council
      Al – I agree 100% percent with you comment – “The City Council should get down to business in balancing the budget with some tough cutting this year of city staff and duplicate social services and at the same time try to find ways to generate more revenue. ”

      I have been saying what you have said in public for years -maybe you should come to council make a statement – too few citizens speak – the council had just a few of us there last year – they seem to have the impression the citizens do not care the budget hearing is just around the corner.

      Remember the council only deals with the one side that is taking more revenue from the taxpayers.

  12. Community and Constitution
    Our country lost a lot with the Heller decision this summer. Essentially the Supreme Court legislated fear into every town and village that sought to ensure its collective safety. And the City Council by its complicity has effectively agreed. Now everyone in Evanston can be as scared as the nearest gun owner. If “Psycho Cho” and the Columbine boys are any suggestion – Cho broke no laws until his last day – we have far less to fear from criminals than our neighbors.

    Three neighbors in particular should scare you. Jonathan Blair Garber, Alan L. Miller and Kevin P. Stanton; the men who brought the lawsuit into Evanston with plenty of help from the NRA. These residents filed suit against the most effective means we had to curb handgun violence. They felt scared enough of, what terrorists? Criminals – do they live close to Howard and Custer? I’m just a few blocks north, and yes I heard gunshots this summer. No. Mr. Garber, Miller and Stanton are scared of you. And angry that you’re not scared of them. Thanks to their legal activity you too may now live in fear.

    Of course you could just purchase a gun. Then the very thought of deterrence will scare Mr. Miller, Stanton and Garber from approaching you, much less those dangerous criminals from ever thinking of visiting south of Main St., or along Church and Dodge. But what if the kids find the handgun, discern its use? You can buy a safe, to keep your kids safe from guns. But then, what of those criminals? Can you reach your weapons fast enough? Worse, what of your neighbors, who even now may be arming, terrified of the thought that you’re not a responsible enough gun owner?

    Perhaps you live in a multi-unit dwelling. A nine millimeter round or .45 ACP will easily pass through drywall. Did you miss that dangerous criminal entering your home? Did you then also miss your neighbor on the other side of the wall? And how old is your neighbor, how reliable is their aim?

    Let’s refresh our memories shall we? “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Ambiguous? Not at all. The amendment clearly states the right to a well regulated militia shall not be infringed. What part of well regulated do people seem to miss? That part involving a regulating body. Previously this was our City Council, who made my youth in this city more sane by outlawing handgun ownership. As a regulating body they and the people of Evanston decided they were better off without guns. Better off not having to secure theirs and their neighbors, better off standing as one to say ‘we will not live in fear of one another, only of those who do not live with us.’

    And did we live in fear? I grew up on the north side of Evanston. My family had plenty of run ins with the law; we did not always in our social associations choose wisely. But while my parents lost a stereo or two, some jewelry, and learned a lot about parenting (and we, a lot about respecting our elders!) they lost no weapons to the streets. Nor were any used in our home, though a few as it turns out passed through our doors. Of course your neighbors won’t be so foolish will they, so loose and permissive with their children? And they’ll use safety locks on their side arms, won’t they? Won’t they? And your children, will they not finally be safe, now that you’re armed? Of course, because you’ve never gotten so angry you could scream, or hit the wall, or your spouse. Never been so sad you couldn’t end it all, right there, right then – immediately, just a brush of the trigger. Never been so frustrated at the politicians, the lobbyists, the terrorists, the cops, the robbers, the republicans, the democrats, the greens, the lawyers, the doctors, the queers, the immigrants, the browns, the whites the blacks the jews the muslims that you couldn’t do something more than simply scream at your television “I’m mad as hell”..

    Tell me, tell me this. Please. Because for the first time in a life lived mainly here, in Evanston, I’m terrified.

    1. Get over it.
      Evanston will be no more dangerous now than it was before. Only 7-10 municipalities had handgun bans in the WHOLE country out of thousands and thousands of other cities that didn’t. You are living in a bubble. Perhaps you would feel more comfortable with your neighbor shooting a 300mag rifle round through drywall. Trust me, it’s much more like to go through it than a handgun round. I can’t get over how ignorant some of my fellow Evanstonians are. Just because you have a fear of guns does not mean we should violate people’s rights to own one. The citizens of Evanston are a “well regulated militia”.

  13. Hey it’s 2011

    Hey anti-gun people: remember when you were peeing your pants in "fear" that Evanston would fall into the hands of scary gun owning rapists?  How about fast-forwarding to present day and the fact that crime is down for the second year in a row?  Criminals still have guns, and now we can have them too. 

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