The phrase "not in my backyard" could receive new meaning if Mount Prospect officials approve a proposal to ban the use of compound bows in the village.
The village board's committee of the whole this week discussed closing a loophole in village ordinances that now allows archers to fire the powerful weapon in their backyards or just about anywhere else in the community.
Trustees are expected to vote on the proposal Jan. 4.
The compound bow, a widely used weapon in archery, employs a system of cables and pulleys to make it easier to draw. It is more powerful than a standard bow-and-arrow combination, officials said.
Village Manager Michael Janonis said the idea of closing the loophole was suggested by Police Chief John Dahlberg. According to a village memo, the chief expressed concerns after a resident recently asked whether he could use a compound bow in the village. It is the third or fourth such request since March 2007, Dahlberg's memo stats.
Janonis explained that there was particular concern because the shooting would be taking place outdoors.
Village code currently does not prohibit the use of compound bows on private property, unless the arrow is propelled onto or across public property. Nor does the section of the village code prohibiting the discharge of firearms and air guns address compound bows or other dangerous weapons.
The proposed change would amend the ordinance to ban the use of "dangerous weapons," including crossbows, and restrict their possession in the village.
Trustees asked Tuesday what else might be considered a dangerous weapon under the ordinance, inquiring about items such as air guns, slingshots and even rubber bands.
Janonis said he asked the village attorney to research the matter, noting that the ordinance must serve as a guide to potential violators, as well as hold its own in a court of law.
He suggested closing the compound bow loophole immediately and then coming back after the first of the year to discuss the broader issue of dangerous weapons.
"This is a little bigger than what we can get our hands around tonight," he said Tuesday.
Trustee John Korn said the matter is not a simple one and pointed out that confining the activity to an enclosed area does not necessarily make it safe. He said he once set up a range in his in-laws' home in Wheeling and was surprised to find bullet holes through the side of their house.
"Fortunately, nobody was ever hurt," he said.
Trustee Arlene Juracek said the proposed ordinance is much clearer than the one on the books.
"When I read the ordinance that is currently on our books . . . it implies you need a (Firearm Owners Identification card) for a paintball gun," she said. "I'm sure the state of Illinois and the state police don't want to start issuing FOIDs just for people who want to have paintball guns."