St. Charles officials showed little appetite Monday night for imposing any laws more restrictive than the concealed carry legislation awaiting Gov. Pat Quinn's signature. However, some areas of existing city ordinance may become invalid when the pending state law comes online. At that time, aldermen will also have their one and only chance to regulate assault weapons.
City residents packed the chamber, some wearing Illinois Rifle Association or "I love guns & coffee" shirts. State law on concealed carry would trump anything the city currently has in place. That includes a current prohibition on the carrying of any concealed firearms in a vehicle, on or about a person or in his home or business. Current city law also prohibits the sale, manufacture, purchase, possession or carrying of any weapon capable of firing more than eight shots by a single function.
Police Chief Jim Lamkin said aldermen would have to consider deleting that from city code to avoid a conflict.
Aside from that, the most likely scenario now appears to be that aldermen will take no other action once the concealed carry legislation becomes law. The bill, as it currently exists, provides for a 10-day window for the aldermen to impose any additional restrictions on assault weapons. Cook County and the city of Chicago already have bans in place as covered by the pending legislation.
St. Charles aldermen indicated no desire to follow those examples.
"I personally don't understand why anyone needs an assault weapon," said Alderman Ron Silkaitis. "But I believe in the Second Amendment. I would not vote in favor of any assault weapons ban."
The audience loudly applauded Silkaitis' statement. A second round of applause came as Alderman Jim Martin voiced his views.
"I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment," Martin said. "I will object to anyone who tries to water it down in any way."
Though other aldermen asked questions to determine exactly what kind of weapons would included in an admittedly murky definition of "assault weapon," no aldermen proposed any consideration of a ban.
Illinois is under a court-imposed July 9 deadline to enact a concealed carry law.