Council doesn't pull trigger on gun law

Evanston aldermen Monday postponed a vote on changes to the city's weapons ordinance after speakers from anti-gun violence groups asked for time to meet with the city's legal staff and develop more restrictive legislation.

The National Rifle Association sued Evanston and other Illinois communities with gun bans after the U.S. Supreme Court last month ruled 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.

Although the text of the draft ordinance appears to allow transportation of handguns only by state-licensed gun collectors and a few other narrow categories of citizens, Police Chief Richard Eddington told aldermen during the Public Works Committee meeting that any resident who could legally possess a gun could also transport it as long as it was broken down or in a case and unloaded.

During the committee meeting Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, also urged that the city amend its zoning ordinance to forbid the establishment of gun shops in the city.

The aldermen plan to next discuss the gun ordinance at the Administration and Public Works Committee meeting on Aug. 11.

Related stories

Aldermen to consider gun law revisions

Evanston won't amend handgun ban yet (Evanston Review)

 

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Comments

Gun control arguments are flawed; Council should deal with CRIME

News flash, gun control advocates: research shows that the relationship between gun laws and crime is, at best, unclear.

It's no surprise that the arguments apparently made at the meeting were either emotional pleas or red herrings. For instance, Columbine? Kleybold and Harris obtain their gun through gun shops and broke firearm laws. But, hey, don't let facts get in the way of your propaganda. That Bishop resorts to these kinds of arguments and out-of-context, meaningless statistics demonstrates that she follows the "means justifies the ends" doctrine.

That the city council would make decisions based on the arguments based cited by the Review is outrageous. I have an idea: why not make public policy decisions based on statistics, objective research and legal precedent?

It's hard enough living in the 3rd ward with criminals pouring in from Rogers Park and the 8th ward to commit crimes against us. If the city wants to help prevent crime HOW ABOUT DEALING WITH CRIME IN SOUTH EVANSTON? Many people I know in the 3rd and 9th wards have been mugged or had their houses burgled in the past year. Absolutely, positively unacceptable.

It's also worth pointing out

It's also worth pointing out that the slaughter at Columbine would have been much less if the police had done their job and not safely hidden behind their cars, trembling in fear. The local SWAT team refused to enter the school during the shooting because the situation was too dangerous!

It seems that such Rambos prefer to kick down doors at night, raiding the homes of completely innocent people such as recently occurred in Minneapolis during a wrong address drug bust. The public was then treated to the spectacle of the police chief solemnly awarding the intrepid raiders medals for risking their lives shooting it out with the homeowner who believed that a neighborhood street gang had invaded his home! Even the Monty Phyton crew couldn't concoct something this weird.

Let's hear again what a swell job the police throughout America are doing protecting the public when they aren't tazing cripples as recently happened to a severely injured teenager in Missouri, and how when seconds count, legally disarmed crime victims such as at Columbine must patiently wait minutes if not forever for help to arrive.

Let's Go Evanston

Evanston needs to quit lollygagging. Gun tragedies are horrible but we can't let emotional people who have an axe to grind pull at our heart strings and prevent us from complying with DC vs. Heller. If we want a stricter ordinance, let's get going on putting it together. If we need help, let's consult Morton Grove, they put together a pretty good ordinance. Throw in a no gun shops clause. Even include a registration system like Highland Park if that's what the city council wants. But let's get going.

Two very good ideas above

I like your no gun sales/gun registry ideas. I've been writing Congress to ask that they enact a nationally searchable ballistics registry; I wonder if we could require that locally. I'd go one step further: no one whose gun has been used in a crime should be allowed to own a gun, unless it was reported stolen prior to the commission of the crime - even if they did not commit the crime themselves. I would be interested to find out if there are any statistics connecting criminals who commit gun crimes to individuals with legal FOIC cards - I doubt all illegal gun sales are committed by stores.

Really, legally owning guns isn't the problem here - it's ensuring responsible ownership and addressing the flow of guns to criminals. While I doubt sincerely that allowing citizens to own guns will improve our safety, I'm very concerned with the reduction of gun crime.

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While I doubt sincerely that

While I doubt sincerely that allowing citizens to own guns will improve our safety, I'm very concerned with the reduction of gun crime.

Unfortunately, this is not a subject that you can just rely on your intuition with. There is a mountain of evidence available suggesting that gun laws don't decrease crime and even indications that it actually might increase crime.

This is why the absolutely strongest argument a gun control advocate could make is that it's inconclusive what impact gun laws have, which is why we should then defer to the constitution, higher courts, fewer restrictions and simpler legislation.

Simply believing that gun laws reduce crime in spite of considerable evidence to the contrary is not a reasonable argument for more restrictions.

Mountains or molehills?

Respectfully, there are mountains of evidence on both sides of this issue, each insisting they "prove" their way is right. I'd imagine those of you who think that arming law-abiding citizens will solve the crime problem have never lived in a third-world country where that is the reality. Crime is significantly worse in places where everybody "protects himself" with a gun. I don't personally have a problem with gun ownership, but I do with vigilanteism.

That being said, the evidence suggesting that the ballistics registry in England is working is far more compelling than the evidence suggesting it's not (I've done quite a bit of searching on this issue) I see no reason why a law-abiding gun owner would refuse to have their gun registered - if you are hiding something, you shouldn't own a gun. We need to deal with the illegal guns, and that will take better tools to trace them - ideally, a ballistics registry created during manufacture, prior to wholesaling. If a Federal registry isn't possible, a trans-state registry would circumvent the state vs federal issue.

As an important aside: the major problem I have with many of these online arguments is that people choose sides and dig their heels in. We'd get a lot more accomplished in this City if we found ways to listen to each other and compromise.

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It's about freedom

I see no reason why a law-abiding gun owner would refuse to have their gun registered - if you are hiding something, you shouldn't own a gun.

Now, I don't know you, Michele, but I would imagine that you are not a fan of the current administration in DC. This is the type of logic used to justify spying on US citizens. "If you aren't doing anything wrong then you have nothing to worry about." Meanwhile, the Patriot Act is used in ways its initial supporters never imagined.

It's about the freedom to be left alone by the government. That's what this country was founded upon.

National registries abound

I assume you're registered to vote? You have a social security number and pay federal taxes, a driver's license, and your car is properly registered with the state? That you have a postal mail address, phone number, library card?

And yet, the argument that we might be giving up our freedom through registrations seems to come up almost exclusively regarding guns. Please.

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And each one erodes freedom

And yet, the argument that we might be giving up our freedom through registrations seems to come up almost exclusively regarding guns.

There is no gray area here. You are giving up some freedom through registering with the state. And it's most definitely not exclusive to guns. It comes up with every issue you mention above. Maybe not in your circles.

You may not mind trading a little freedom for security, and that is certainly your prerogative, but many others, such as myself, sure as hell do. We will fight you every inch of the way.

You seem to think, Michelle,

You seem to think, Michelle, that the registrations with the State you cite are benign. First of all, none of those registrations is voluntary. They are all compulsory. Anyone who fails to register with the IRS, Social Security and the state motor vehicle department will be fined. Repeat offenders will be visited by men with guns threatening jail sentences. Resisters will be killed. So, registration is a potential death sentence for anyone who refuses to comply.

And what is the purpose of registration? It is to keep track of people in order to control them and to steal money for the State and its supporters through taxes, fines and fees. Registration has already resulted in the harassment and intimidation of hundreds of thousands of innocent people who find themselves on No Fly lists, many because of their political views. There is another government list carrying the names of one million potential "domestic terrorists." Today's working definition of terrorist is anyone whom government officials dislike. Once on such a list, it is almost impossible to have one's name removed.

Registration and the monitoring of its subjects is the hallmark of every police state. It is by way of registration that freedoms are lost. It is the registration of guns and ethnicity by earlier administrations that allowed the German Nazis to disarm their subjects and to round up the Jews. It is registration and the monitoring of our activities via warrantless wiretapping that has firmly put America on a police state trajectory.

Since you are comfortable with registration, you will really love the coming national ID card. Eventually, we will undoubtedly be told by authorities that life will be much safer if our every contact with the outside world is validated through presentation of our national ID card. This means that, under penalty of law, government approval will be required for every commercial and financial transaction. Every time you shop, every time you deposit or withdraw money at your bank, every time you enter your place of work, every time you start your car, you must have your ID card scanned for permission for the activity. Without approval the activity is denied. Did you email an unflattering remark about a local politician? Too bad. Denial of permission to buy food this week! This is not paranoia. The No Fly list, the PATRIOT Act and the Real ID card are real. So is the political will to use them for unconstitutional purposes.

The future American police state will have no need for old fashioned gulags and torture chambers to control people. Threats of denial of approval for essentials like food, fuel, housing, banking and work by way of the national ID card should serve to keep most McSheep in line eagerly slaving to support their masters.

You are determined to place bureaucratic obstructions in the way of peaceful private citizens who want to arm themselves with mere handguns, but you seem to see nothing wrong with the State, armed to the teeth, threatening us for daring to disobey its every dictate.

A century ago guns were

A century ago guns were freely available, registration was generally not required and crime was insignificant. America was not a 3rd world country. Today gun control laws and gun registration are everywhere and crime is rampant and many American inner cities resemble 3rd world countries.

Federal Registration is Illegal

Congress cannot enact a national registry of firearms. The Firearm Owner's Protection Act of 1986 specifically prohibits this for non-Title II firearms (Title II firearms being machine guns, silencers, etc.).

Even if they could, such a registry would only hold information about law-abiding gun owners -- criminals are not legally required to register firearms, as doing so would cause them to self-incriminate themselves, and they are protected from doing so by the Fifth Amendment. Indeed, registration has not been shown to have any effect on crime at all.

Ballistic databases are also ineffective. See Maryland for an example -- the Maryland State Police keep pestering the legislature to cancel the program, as it's a waste of money, resources, and time.

Treating a crime victim (someone who has their gun stolen) like a criminal is not a very good thing either, and it certainly wouldn't deter criminals from committing their violent acts.

Sure, some bad guys abuse the system by falsely claiming a gun was "stolen" when their gun is traced in a crime, but there are far more honest folks who simply have their guns stolen: I know a person who kept their guns in locked cases in their attic. At one point, they had contractors over to do work in their attic, and one of the contractors stole one a guns. The homeowner rarely went up to the attic, and didn't notice the gun was stolen until months later. Of course, the homeowner called the police, but there was little they could do, as it had been several months. Still, the gun was added to the "stolen gun" registry, so if it's found it can be returned to its owner.

If the contractor used the gun in crime, or sold it to a criminal who used it, why would you want to punish the homeowner? Why not spend those resources to go after the genuine bad guys?

guns and criminals

Michele - no criminals in town no real gun problem- You do understand ! "Really, legally owning guns isn't the problem here - it's ensuring responsible ownership and addressing the flow of guns to criminals."

As for no gun shops - one of Ann Raineys idea - not really so good - why? where are gun owners to learn how to use the guns they buy? The police department has a firing range, Where do people who buy a gun learn to fire it and use it safely? Just buying a gun and putting in a draw and having no idea how to use it is not very safe.

There is currently is no shortage of guns in certain areas of town - so we all know the current ordinance has no effect.

Accountability and Responsibility

Although, I do feel that legal gun ownership does make one safer than not having a gun at all, an irresponsible gun owner puts everyone at risk. I think that we not only face threats from criminals breaking in to our homes, we also need to protect ourselves in situations where large scale civil unrest could occur such as riots, a hurricane or even a terrorist attack at the block level. Law enforcement would be paralyzed in these situations. An irresponsible gun owner is also a very big threat to our safety. Only RESPONSIBLE people should be allowed to defend themselves with firearms.

There are way too many guns floating around in society that are unaccounted for. Handguns are the biggest problem because they can be easily hidden and carried. And they are much harder to keep track even in the home. Cicero and Highland Park both require handguns to be registered. Highland Park also requires a safetly class for every renewal. Chicago also registers long guns and "grandfathered" handguns. Registration will make the gun owner understand his responsibility and his liability. A registered gun will more likely be kept track of. Registration will make the owner definitely think twice before being careless.

In lieu of registration, another option, would be to issue a "title" for a gun just as it would be issued for a car. If your car is not drivable and is kept on your property, you do not need to get license plates nor a city sticker. However, you still need to have a current title. A record can be generated at the time of purchase, and the purchaser will be legally responsible for the gun until he transfers that gun to someone else. Currently only the original purchaser's name is recorded and I believe these records are not kept indefinitely. This would be less complicated than registration but the end result will be the same.

And, although this will never happen, how about running a credit report and having a minimum credit score requirement of at least 700. Credit is a very good reflection of how responsible a person is. Some people are even requesting their fiance's credit before getting married. If someone cannot pay their bills on time, they don't renew their vehicle stickers, they continuously bounce checks, and they don't pick up their kids report card from school, what makes anyone think they are responsible enough to have a gun!?!? Furthermore, someone with financial problems is more likely to be disgruntled and angry at the world.

As for a federal ballistics database. I don't think it's legal at this point in time. And although I like the idea, it's sort of scary to me when the federal government forms agencies like "Homeland Security" and spies on phone calls and internet traffic, they secretly snap pictures of faces at airports and harrass illegal immigrants.. I don't like the idea of the federal government having any kind of database. It's too "big brother" and can bite us in the ass one day. Who knows if they would ever use that info to frame someone and send them to Guantanamo.

But something like that could work at the state level. The federal government could pressure state governments to keep their own database. For example, they could pass a law that if a firearms is used in a crime and it came from a state without a database, that state would be responsible for the damages. That's how they were able to force all states to raise the drinking age to 21 many years ago. By the way, many guns already come with a sealed envelope containing a fired bullet and/or shell casing. The envelope says Massachussetts and California so I assume those states do keep track of that kind of thing.

Right now Evanston can start with gun registration for handguns (long guns are rarely used in crimes and are very hard to lose track of). Let's make it fairly easy for now and take it by feel. If future restrictions become necessary perhaps they can impose some limitations like limiting the number of handguns someone can own, requiring all guns to be stored safely, requiring a gun safety course, etc. If this issue would get back to the Supreme Court, I fear that they may even go further and strike down some "reasonable" restrictions. It's something that Chicago and Oak Park just don't seem to get.

We do run some risks when we allow certain freedoms, but that's not only true with the 2nd Amendment but also with free speech, freedom of religion, freedom from search and seizure, etc. But we cannot set aside those freedoms for the sake of what we perceive as being a reasonable justification. Our founding fathers valued those freedoms and so should we. But the court have found that some of those freedoms can be restricted and so should we.

This seems like a much more reasonable position

Though I can't agree about safety - I am willing to concede this point as long as I am never required to have a gun in my home.

Earlier, a poster mentioned that someone shouldn't be held accountable if their guns were stolen and they didn't notice for months - this is exactly how guns get in the hands of criminals. Gun owners need to be responsible for what happens to their gun in the same way that car owners are responsible for what happens in their car. If you own a firearm, you should be checking it frequently to make sure it's where it is supposed to be.

Freedom is supposed to be tempered by responsibility.

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their guns were stolen and

their guns were stolen and they didn't notice for months - this is exactly how guns get in the hands of criminals

This appear to be false. Some sources state that it's one of the least common ways criminals obtain guns. For example:

ATF agent Jay Wachtel says that most guns used in crimes are not stolen out of private gun owners' homes and cars. "Stolen guns account for only about 10% to 15% of guns used in crimes,"

Gangs want guns

A source at the Evanston Police Department (I believe at this meeting) stated that locally, gang members engage in burglaries for profit and steal guns for their personal use. Your own sources didn't dismiss what I said, it said that more than a tenth of all CRIMES are committed with a stolen gun; this doesn't include how many guns are stolen by criminals who didn't get caought.

I continue to agree with MikeEvanston as having a reasonable position on this issue.

Find out more about Brummel Park Neighbors and Michele Hays

When was the last time that

When was the last time that you counted the knives in your cutlery drawer? You wouldn't want to be held responsible for an attack using a stolen knife of yours. Tools can also be pretty dangerous weapons. Are all your tools locked up and regularly accounted for? And how about the gasoline in your car? Are you sure that no one is siphoning gas out of your tank? Maybe it's time you kept track of your gas consumption. After all, you wouldn't want a playground Molotov cocktail on your conscience.

And as for guns stolen from people's homes, how will thieves know who has a gun? From hacked registration databases perhaps? It's no secret that government computer security is notoriously lax. If Pentagon computers can be hacked, then so can any other agency's computers.

Responsibility Responsibility Responsibility

I don't count the knives in my kitchen drawer, nor do I know how many screwdrivers I own. But you can be sure that if a large cleaver or my table saw were missing I would notice. I would also notice if one of my prescription bottles were less full than it should be, if may car gasoline gauge indicates 1/2 full when it should be on 3/4, or when a bottle of vodka is missing from my stash. You mention knives as an example. If you leave sharp long kitchen knives out on the counter within the reach of a child, or on a rack right next to your back door within the reach of a burglar, you ARE responsible. A better example would be the responisibility of having a swimming pool on your property. You have to be constantly vigilant of your own children as well as making sure that your fence in secure from neighborhood children. It's the same story when you throw out a refrigerator, you have to take the door off before you put in the alley.

And as for determining who is responsible, registration itself will help weed out irresponsible people. For example, in Highland Park handguns have to be registered. However, one must complete a safety course every three years. You have to take some time out of your busy schedule and make time to get to the class and to fill out the paperwork. One aspect that I like about Chicago's registration system is the fact that you have to fill out a form for each and every gun, get 2 passport size pictures for each gun and get each form notarized and all of this has to be done annually. To me, if you are willing to pay this price to own a firearm then you have proven that you are a responsible individual.

It's terrifying to think that there are so many "unaccounted for" handguns just floating around. Most illegal guns start off as legal guns. The right wing fights tooth and nail to get every possible restriction off the books. The left wing wants to prohibit gun ownership for the most part. Let's work with what we've got and channel our energy into something that we can realistically accomplish. Neither side can have everything they want but if we work together and COMPROMISE we can have safe and legal handgun ownersip while stemming the flow of guns onto the streets. Of course, there are already millions of unaccounted for guns out there so if there were changes it would take a generation or two to trickle down, but it's worth it for my kids and grandkids (when I have them).

Let me see if I get this

Let me see if I get this straight. Your proposal is that only responsible people should be allowed to own guns. Who decides who is responsible and who is not? Is it neighbors, friends, co-workers, relatives, the neighborhood banker? Probably none of the above.

It's a safe bet that bureaucrats appointed by elected politicians would make that decision. And what qualifies the politicians to appoint the bureaucrats who define responsibility? Why, the politicians represent the will of the People as we are endlessly assured. And how does the will of the People manifest itself? Through voting. And among the voting "people" are not only those you deem irresponsible such as parents indifferent to their children's report cards, check bouncers and low credit score people but every category of social misfit imaginable by all those who have an opinion on what constitutes responsible behavior.

So, if all manner of "irresponsible" are responsible and smart enough to be trusted to elect politicians who appoint bureaucrats to micromanage not only the minutiae of gun ownership but, increasingly, our entire lives, then why are the "irresponsible" not sufficiently responsible to own guns?

Great idea Michelle! To

Great idea Michelle! To further apply the logic of your suggestion, if a thief uses a stolen car to commit a crime before the owner of the car can report it stolen, then the car theft victim is to be forbidden from ever again owning a car.

Responsibility extends to property, why should guns be exempt?

I was at court a while back, where a young law student was protesting that he had to pay towing fees for a car (abandoned by the thief) he had responsibly reported stolen. If he hadn't been able to prove that he'd reported it, he'd have been liable. I also believe the car owner's insurance company is required to pay for accidents if a third party is driving their car: you would have to prove the person didn't have your permission to release yourself from liability, i.e. report it stolen.

I also liked the comparison below to swimming pools - under the "attractive nuisance" premise, an owner is held liable for what happens in their pool when they are not around.

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Opening Story

Bill,

There appears to be an error in the first sentence of paragraph four. I can't be sure what the proposal prohibits. Do you have a copy of the draft?

I was recently overseas visiting some local friends and for no particular reason, the conversation turned to Heller. As a lark someone proposed that since we can no longer ban guns, we might simply ban bullets instead. Wouldn't this be an interesting circumvention?

Mike


Reply:
Thanks for the editing catch. I've now added the dropped word "allow."
You can find the text of the draft ordinance in the packet for Monday's council meeting on the city website.
Somehow I doubt the bullet ban idea would fly with the current supreme court.
-- Bill

Gun control is about control

Gun control is about control of your law abiding. Criminals do not care or obey laws. Why is Evanston afraid of their law abiding residents?

You already have laws against crime. Use those to prosecute and put away your criminals and your law abiding residents can enjoy peaceful uses of firearms.

Who on staff came up with some of this ordinance on guns?

I would like to understand how the city is going to enforce limiting gun use to the following groups as they stated in the ordinance.

Persons who are narcotics addicts. ( how do they determine this?)

Persons who've been a patient in a mental hospital within the past five years.
(How is the city going to get any information on if a person was hospitalized?)

Persons who are mentally retarded.
(Please define what does this mean? ) People think that I am not PC - I thought we now use the term learning disabilities? How is the city going to determine this requirement. The only people I know in town of limit mental capacity are the people who continue to increase our taxes every year at unreasonable levels! (13.33%)

These restrictions are not

These restrictions are not actually specific to Evanston (unless there is something subtle they slipped in that I'm missing), they are actually just the same restrictions the state has for getting a FOID card.

This ordinance sounds like a

This ordinance sounds like a bad idea on a number fronts. The descriptions that are made of the separate groups (mentally "retarded", Narcotics addicts, mental patients) are going to have to be specified. In reality, I would think that the state of Illinois would already have provisions in place that would limit the purchase of firearms to criminals and the mentally ill. Why not defer to the state and its regulations in this matter? I never understood the extent to which local governments go to make utter spectacles of themselves. It makes no sense to pass an "ordinance" on a matter that most likely is already mandated at the state level.

Evanston should defer this to state level and let them take the heat.

the state FOID process already has it covered

Earlier this year, I applied for my FOID card. One month later, after extensive background checking, I received my FOID in the mail from the Illinois State Police. That gives me the right to keep and bear arms. Evanston Gov't will have no say in my Constitutional rights.

LDE

Lawyer Full Employment Act

Reading this, it sounds like Evanston is looking to spend a lot of money with lawyers over the next few years. While this is going on, criminals will continue to ignore the laws and law abiding citizens will continue to be victims.

Why The Dramatics?

Great.I just don't get it. What more is there to discuss? Are we above the supreme court now? State law already has laws in place that protect us. It looks like the ones they are looking to prohibit guns from in that proposed ordinance are exactly the ones causing havoc in our great city. Smarten up Evanston. you are about to go down a long road that is going to cost a lot of tax dollars. Tax dollars that can go towards more important things. Respect the constitution and respect the supreme court. Kill this issue and give us tax paying citizens piece of mind.

So is there anyone talking

So is there anyone talking to city council other than the gun control advocates? I sure hope so.

Wow MetaqCynic

You nailed that right on the head. Said it much better than I ever could. The problem remains with 94 to 96% of people willingly submitting to police who ask to search their car when no probable cause was present. I can tell you what will happen when you say "NO" to such searches, nothing. My brother was stopped in Kentucky with two friends, need I say it was a salt and pepper stop, they asked to search the car and my brother said "N O". The one officer turned to the other and said "That will be a no on the search". And thats what we need to start doing, telling the government "N O!!".

Can some explain what law would be inplace if we -----

Can some explain what law would be inplace if we -----dropped the current ordinance and did what Wilmette and Morton Grove did? Would it be a state law?
Why do we need our own unique set of rules it appears to me , Evanston would still most likely get sued?

These council members need to start to deal with the budget and the many short falls that are about to come with the declining economy.