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.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Once again, wasting time and money

    Did the council provide any details on whether there is an issue with assault weapons in Evanston to begin with, or are they wasting time like with the drones – which are non-existent?

    Also, why are they doing anything before the state figures out the law? If the states law conflicts with the ordinance, then they will have to spend more time and money to fix the ordinance. Typical knee-jerk reactions we have come to expect from our leaders.

  2. Yeah, such a waste

    Such a waste, but not really! They should spend more time and money on making Evanston safer instead of the crime haven it is becoming. Instead, they're worried about parking, lights, and bike lanes. What's it going to take for them to actually start taking it seriously and solving/preventing crimes?

  3. Criminals will still get them

    Of course the meanest-looking military grade weapon's photo is used for this article. Criminals will get their hands on these guns if they want to, no matter what laws are in place to try and curb them. Remember that whole handgun ban on the North Shore and Chicago and how well that worked? 

    1. So just do nothing?

      So just nothing should happen then? Good solution to a problem; doing nothing. Hope you aren't in any decision making role wherever you work.

      1. Solution?

        You should focus on real solutions to real problems. These weapons you want to ban account for less homicides than hands/feet/knives/blunt objects. A majority of shootings are done by handguns. Based on the FBI's Universal Crime Report for the year 2010:

        • Handguns: 6,009
        • Rifles: 358 (including hunting rifles)
        • Shotguns: 373 (most are duck guns)
        • Knives/Blades:1,704
        • Other Weapons (Bats, Hammers, Pipes, 2×4's, etc): 1,772 Hands, Fists, Feet: 745

        So get real… You guys have a culture/youth problem if anything.

    1. Gun Ban

      Fortunately that isn't for you to decide. If they do plan to enact a ban that may have confiscation. I hope they are prepared for law suits and paying checks to the NRA, SAF, and GOA. Hands, Fists, Feet, and knives kill more people than rifles each year. So called assault weapons are an even smaller percentage of those homicides. It's sad so many people "think" and "feel" instead of looking at cold hard facts. Take a look at the FBI's UCR for actual statistics. I encourage people to own what they want, and turn in nothing. All you geniuses are going to do is give priority to cases that involve assault weapons bans. The law is unconstitutional and bans firearms under common use, and it also deals with confiscating property without grandfathering or compensation. If you are an Evanstan resident I feel bad the court fees will come out of your taxes…

      1. Hey Captain, the tide is

        Hey Captain, the tide is turning against you. Assault weapons will be banned and not for "emotional " reasons (God forbid!). It's called logic. Weapons that can kill more people in a shorter amount of time will be banned federally in the next decade. Yes, the line was previously drawn between guns and rocket launchers. Are you okay with citizens owing rocket launchers? If not, then you are drawing a line. I believe based on logic that my line makes sense. And you should question your personal "feelings" about guns. Why are you so reactive and emotional about the issue? Why are you scared/angry about additional limits on gun ownership being put into place? By the way you put "think" in quotes above when you refer to a consideration of "cold hard facts." Do you understand what "thinking" is? 

        1. Quite the optimist

          Here are your facts.

          Based on the FBI's Universal Crime Report for the year 2010:
          • Handguns: 6,009
          • Rifles: 358 (including hunting rifles)
          • Shotguns: 373 (most are duck guns)
          • Knives/Blades:1,704
          • Other Weapons (Bats, Hammers, Pipes, 2×4's, etc): 1,772 Hands, Fists, Feet: 745

          Keep telling yourself the tide is turning.

          -Handgun Ban Struck Down

          -CCW Ban ruled unconstitutional.

          -"Universal Background Checks/Federal AWB/Magazine Bans Fail to Pass"

          -CCW Law passed both houses and backed by Madigan.

          -State Wide Magazine Bans/AWB Killed in IL Senate/House

          I am reactive about this issue because people like you want to step all over my civil rights and others rights. You insult my ability to think but anti-gunners are just as jaded and biased as anyone else.

        2. By the way

          "By the way" it's just like an anti to get personal and insult an individual for disagreeing. You say the tide is turning I wanted to add something to my reply. Anti gunners are lucky to get 12 people at a protest in springfield. Gun owners got nearly 10,000 people at IGOLD, and real good turn outs at town hall meetings.

          The people who process FOID cards are backlogged by months and get over 80,000 applications a month.

          I definately want to say the tides are turning, just not in your favor. A majority of your post is emotional and opinionated.

  4. Hilarious

    The City of Chicago has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country and their murder rate is still atrocius.  Do you really think banning assault weapons in Evanston will make any difference?  Wake up and smell the pinto beans…let's go 'merica!  It's time to stand up to the nanny state and start fending for ourselves!

    Law abiding citizens can responsibly own and posess these guns and other weapons.  If John Doe gang member wants to get an ak47, he's going to get one from somewhere,  You might as well allow responsible Evanstonians the ability to fight fire with fire not to mention enjoy their constitutional rights.  It's time for the City Council to start leaning to the right.  The liberalism is out of control.  Government has become too intrusive.  Come on Evanston let's rally behind gun rights.  2nd amendment…the right to bear arms !!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Ban on Modern Sporting Rifles

    Evanston is awash in a crime wave at the moment…not one of them has anything to do with a a modern sporting rifle…..[aka an assault weapon] as such….it is completely inappropriate and a waste of time for the City to be seeking to ban something that doesn't cause a problem. Talk about over stepping bounds.

  6. Do these alderman know anything? Here’s a clue.

    No one has the courage to address a certain historical anomaly concerning these so-called "assault weapons".

    The first semi-auto rifle was offered to the public in 1903 (Winchester). This is not some new plague on society.

    Surplus M1 Carbines (now considered "assault weapons") with 15-round mags were sold by the U.S. Government — yes, OUR Government — directly to the public right after WWII. Civilians bought millions of them.

    The much demonized AR-15 has been on the civilian market since 1963, and has been THE de facto competition rifle in sanctioned events for over 25 years! Illinois' own Konrad Powers won the Presiden't Cup Match in 2012, and earned a congratulatory signed letter from President Obama. Konrad's rifle was an AR-15. The rifles used by over a thousand who competed against him were also AR-15s.

    Since semi-auto firearm technology is over 100 years old, why is it that they are only a problem NOW? How it it that we miraculously escaped repeated mass killings or criminal use until the Clinton Administration and the original Assault Weapons Ban?

    Why wasn't the public clamouring for a ban on "semi-auto assault weapons" 30, 40, or 50 years ago?

    A lot of things have changed in the past few decades… but semi-auto firearms aren't one of them… yet the first thing people do after a tragedy is hysterically point at guns.

    Our society needs to point the finger at itself.

  7. Doesn’t Cook County already have an AWB?

    Isn't Evanston completely in Cook County?  Why are the Evanston politicians wasting time and money on something that's already covered by county law?

    1. County versus city

      The short answer is that they appear to like the Chicago version of the law better. As you can learn here, both Cook County and the City of Chicago have their own assault weapons bans. There's also been a long-running court challenge to the county ban. Not sure of the current state of that.

      — Bill

  8. Fight This!

    If you are against this ban write, email and call your Evanston officials. I hope you will be joining me at the next council meeting. This is a direct violation of our 2nd Amendment Rights that these officials swore to uphold. 

    1. What the 2nd amendment says

      It does not seem to me that a ban on assault weapons violates the 2nd Amendment.  The problem is that most people only seem to quote the second half of the second admendment which reads:

      "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." 

      However, the whole amendment reads:

      "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."

      It seems that this amendment is really about the right of a state to organinze a "well regulated militia" for its own security then for the right of people to own guns for personal self defense.  In fact there is nothing about personal self defense in there; it is all about orgainizing a military force to defend the state.  Basically what the second admendment does is it gives the state the right to organize a National Guard which the State of Illinois has already done.

      1. Despite what you’ve posted

        Despite what you've posted here, the US Supreme Court has already ruled that gun ownership is an individual right, and that's all that matters.

        1. Supreme Court

          It's worth noting that while the Supreme Court has ruled that individuals have a right to have guns in their homes, it has not spoken on an array of other gun-related issues — including concealed carry and whether there are any limits on the types of firearms that individuals may possess.

          It's complicated, and you could start researching the issue here.

          — Bill

      2. 2nd amendment in historical context

        Sorry, Dan, but as a matter of historical accuracy, your interpretation of the federal 2d amendment, often repeated by gun control advocates, and by which I was at one time persuaded, is not correct. For now, at least, the Supreme Court also disagrees with you, and the topic is well discussed in the majority opinions in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) and McDonald v. Chicago (2010), which held that "it is clear that the Framers and ratifiers of the Fourteenth Amendment counted the right to keep and bear arms among those fundamental rights necessary to our system of ordered liberty" and that personal defense, like collective defense, was not only central to the 2d amendment but an animating force behind the adoption of civil rights laws and the 14th amendment. Read at pp. 19-31. Check the sources cited. While I more often agree with the minority bloc on other issues, in this case the majority has the better of the argument. The suggestion that the Founders in any way envisioned a system where the government was armed and the populace was disarmed is silly. The opposite is true, and the example of Southern state militias disarming blacks after the Civil War are one example of why.

        As to Illinois, under the Illinois constitution the militia does not consist of the National Guard but is composed of every adult.

        So-called "assault weapons" make an easy target, so to speak, because of their military looks and the occasional sensational rampage killing, but they are a dumb target, so much so that laws aimed at them are arguably irrational. Considering that semi-automatic rifles like the ones show atop this article are the most popular-selling rifles but about the least-commonly-used guns in crimes, it appears that folks who own "assault rifles" are, as a group, more law-abiding and less menacing than, say, revolver owners. Moreover, bans don't work or are irrelevant — Columbine and Virginia Tech, for example, were committed with weapons that would be legal under the lapsed federal AWB. Shootings and crime went down after the repeal of the federal ban. so it's really hard to make a persuasive case rather than one composed mainly of slogans, or focus on rare, extreme tragedies.

        Evanston has worked and is working, and deserves commendation, for some of the initiatives that, while less splashy, will or may have a greater long-term effect on stemming violence, such as outreach and engagement of youth, and support of cultural activities. However, an Evanston "assault weapons ban" would not be such an initiative.

        1. More on 2nd admendment

          Hi Jeff:  Thank you for you for your lengthy and thoughtful analysis of the second admendment.   In response I think that  when we discuss the 2nd admendment we have to take into account that things have changed since the founding of this country.  The system of government that the founders put into place was the first democracy in modern times.  How did they know it would be stable and not revert into a dictatorship or a kingdom?  They didn't.  That's why we have a system of checks and balances.  And one of these "checks" was the idea that the states would be able to form "well regualated militias" to defend against this possibility.  However we have had over 250 years experience with democracies to know that they are stable.  There are democracies all over the world that are doing well and are not going to revert into dictatorships or kingdoms despite the fact that the citizenry is largly unarmed.  In fact it seems that it is the future of the dictarships are in question.  However if you are concerned about a dictatorship arising remember that military power in this country is diffuse.  There is an army which is in control of the Federal Government however each state has its own military force in the form of a National Guard. 

          On another point to make is that the technology of weapons have changed considerably over the last 250 years.  The "arms" referred to in the 2nd admendment was a musket.  You had one shot and then you spent the next 30-60 seconds reloading.  One man simply did not have the power to control and kill dozens of people.  However the situation has changed.  One person can kill dozens of people.  Why should we let others have this capabilty? 

          So I guess my main point is that the 2nd admendment is somewhat of an anachronism.  It reflected conditions at the time which don't exist any more.  It should not be considered as a universal "human right" like freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and the right to due process of law.  Those are widely recognized as basic human rights all over the world.  The "right to bare arms" doesn't make this list.

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