Saner heads prevail in Lake Forest’s assault weapons ban ordinance

July 3, 2013


The lead headline in the Chicago Tribune on Monday stated: “Clock ticks on assault weapon bans.” It’s subtitle: “State concealed carry bill offers one-time windows for local regulations, so many towns scramble to weigh gun measures.


The article related how firearm enthusiasts and gun control advocates were attending municipal board rooms in many suburbs as towns considered outlawing or regulating assault weapons before a state law completely eliminates their authority to act. Suburban gun control advocates are riled up perceiving the issue as an infringement on Second Amendment rights and action taken in haste without any existing problem to mandate such action.


The debate was triggered when the state legislators recently approved a bill to allow legal Illinois gun owners to carry concealed handguns. Illinois is the only state in the nation without some manner of concealed carry. HB183, waiting for Quinn’s signature, would preempt municipal home rule authority when it comes to local gun issues with this one caveat.  It allows local laws to stand if already on the books or were created 10 days before the governor signed the bill.  Pat Quinn has until July 9  to sign House Bill 183 also known as the Firearm Concealed Carry Act.


Already the City Councils in Highland Park and Melrose Park have taken action to ban assault weapons after their June 24 public hearing.


In the upscale community of Lake Forest in northern Illinois at a  meeting on Monday, July 1st, the Lake Forest City Council (mayor and eight alderman) gave a first reading to an ordinance that would ban assault weapons.  There was standing room only in the Lake Forest City Hall meeting room.  As a home rule community, unless Lake Forest acts within 10 days of Gov. Patrick Quinn signing HB183 into law, Lake Forest would be prohibited from legislating about assault weapons in any way and at any time in the future.


The following morning limited insight was given into what took place at the meeting the night before (July 1) by Lake Forest Patch editor, Jacob Nelson, in his article, Lake Forest City Council discusses Assault Weapons Ban.

Scott Drury (D-Highwood) was in attendance at the Lake Forest meeting.  He noted the repercussions of the concealed carry law and what they would mean for home rule communities like Lake Forest, they would lose a right they originally were able to regulate themselves.  In this case, that right had to do with firearms.  Drury also made clear that the gun law should not be treated as a second amendment issue, but as one involving Lake Forest’s home rule status.


State representative  Rep. Drury lost no time after the concealed gun legislation was passed in Springfield to let municipal officials know in his 58th Representative District what communities and towns had to to do to preserve their rights.


Unlike those who packed the City Council chambers to talk about guns in nearby Highland Park, the rhetoric of those who spoke at the Lake Forest meeting left no doubt that The City of Lake ForestOrdinance No. 2013 — An Ordinance Regulating Possession and Ownership of Assault Weapons was not at all popular.  Out of twenty-four individuals who registered to speak at the Lake Forest Council meeting, all but two were adamantly against the ordinance to ban assault weapons.  The remaining two (both woman) speaking in the affirmative, falsely equated the slaughtering of people because of assault weapons and an unregulated industry.


Comments included the following by those opposed to the Lake Forest ordinance:

Problem is not with assault weapons, but with crazy people who use these weapons.

Gun laws do not work, nor would a ban on guns.

How can assault weapon be defined when even the military doesn’t define them?

The best regulation is no regulation.

The ordinance will not do anything to make my children safer, and it will impose hardships on many who are hunters and collectors, as most of these weapons fall into this category.

The bill is nothing more than a feel good ordinance supported by Quinn to try to make gun laws uniform across the state.

Connecticut ranks 4th in its gun law strictness.  No one was left to protect the children at Sandy Hook.

The reason why criminals have guns in IL is because the state is corrupt.

Evident early in the meeting was that City Manger, Robert R. Kiely, Jr.  (sixth highest paid manager in all of IL), and the lawyer for the city of Lake Forest, Maria Del Perco, were in favor of having some type of action taken by the end of the meeting.
Lake Forest Mayor Don Schoenheider, however, noted that the purpose of the meeting was to have a civil discussion on HB183 to decide what was in the best interest for the residents of Lake Forest in the long term.  Enthusiastic clapping resulted, with a request to refrain from this show of approval, when Mayor Schoenheider indicated that he was not recommending a ban nor the same action that had been taken in Highland Park.
An early speaker was the chief law enforcement officer of Lake Forest.  He indicated that safety was his goal, and that he took no position on HB183.  His position was the defend the constitution and the law and not to protrude on the action of the City Council.  Shared was that only 2 murders had ever been gun-related in Lake Forest, discounting suicides.

One councilman expressed concern over the constitutionality of whatever the Lake Forest City Council might decide to do.  As stated, “Home rule authority does not give us a right to pass an ordinance that is unconstitutional.”  All councilmen recognized a citizen’s right to self defense in the home and that there was no difference between a handgun and a rifle as legitimate weapons of self defense.

Upon hearing comments from all eight City Council members and the mayor it was not surprising that of the three possible options available —  1) agree and pass something tonight, 2) decide to do nothing with the ordinance, or 3) table for now — there is still time to act — and see what action Quinn takes on the HB183 — the latter was the agreed plan of action.  Decided was that any action would be delayed until the next City Council meeting on July 15.

A new wrinkle is now in play.  A few hours after the Lake Forest City Council decided to table its decision until July 15, it was reported on Tuesday, July 2nd in the Chicago Tribune that Quinn would rewrite the proposed legislation using his amendatory veto powers.  As of now it is expected that lawmakers will override Governor Quinn’s changes when they return to Springfield next week, as the concealed carry legislation (HB183) did pass with veto-proof majorities in both the House and Senate.,0,6816106.story

Once again Chicago-style politics is being played out, this time by Governor Quinn, who is a staunch anti-gun proponent.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013 at 08:44 AM | Permalink




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