Wheeling will consider assault weapon ban
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Wheeling trustees want the chance to vote on a municipal ordinance banning assault weapons, like these on display earlier this year in a gun shop in Pennsylvania.
A majority of the Wheeling Village Board asked this week for a chance to vote on an ordinance prohibiting assault weapons. Village Attorney James V. Ferolo said he will present trustees a draft similar to Cook County's ordinance by July 1.
Trustee Kenneth Brady was the only member of the board who opposed having staff draft an ordinance. He said the portion of the state concealed carry bill that allows municipalities to control assault weapons will result in "helter-skelter" regulations.
"Let the state do it," he said. "I don't see too may law-abiding citizens with 30-round clips. Criminals are getting these guns illegally. Making more laws isn't going to help."
Trustee Ray Lang was absent for Monday's meeting.
If officials in home rule communities want to adopt ordinances regulating assault weapons they must do so within 10 days after Gov. Patrick Quinn signs the state bill, said Ferolo. The governor's court-ordered deadline to act on the bill is July 9, and the Illinois Municipal League expects the governor to take most of that time before signing, said the attorney.
Ferolo said the bill passed by the legislature deals only with hand guns, and allows concealed carry of licensed semi-automatic pistols in municipalities that don't have or quickly pass regulations. The county's ordinance, which was passed in 2006, bans ownership and sale of the weapons, but Ferolo suggested Wheeling residents could still own them.
Cook County defines rifles, pistols and shotguns that it considers assault weapons.
The definition includes "A semi-automatic pistol or any semi-automatic rifle that has a fixed magazine that has the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds of ammunition."
The definition also deals with detachable magazines and lists specific brands and types of pistols included in the ban.
Violation of the ordinance would be a misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $1,000 or up to six months in jail, said Ferolo.
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