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Evanston plans assault weapons ban

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Evanston aldermen laid plans Monday night to adopt a Chicago-style ban on assault weapons, prompted by state legislation that could soon eliminate their power to do so.

City Attorney Grant Farrar said HB183, now awaiting Gov. Quinn's signature, largely preempts the power of cities to regulate guns. But the bill contains an unusual provision regarding assault weapons — which would let a local ban on them stand, provided it was adopted within 10 days after the bill is signed.

The state had faced a June 8 deadline, based on a federal appeals court order, to adopt regulations permitting some form of concealed carry for guns, an issue also covered by HB183. But that deadline has been extended to July 9, and there's a possibility Attorney General Lisa Madigan will seek Supreme Court review of the appeals court decision.

All that, Farrar says, makes it unclear when, or if, Gov. Quinn will sign the bill.

He said it does not appear that the governor will sign the bill soon, so it appears there's time for the city's legal staff to draft an assault weapons ban and schedule it for action at a City Council meeting later this month.

Farrar says the 170-page bill adopted by the legislature doesn't define assault weapons, but that a Chicago ordinance on the subject appears to have the best available language.

On a motion by Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, seconded by Alderman Mark Tendam, 6th Ward, the aldermen voted unanimously to direct the law department to draft an assault weapons ban.

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

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