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Article updated: 7/2/2013 5:11 PM

Quinn: Let suburbs ban assault weapons

By Mike Riopell

Gov. Pat Quinn's rewrite of legislation to allow Illinoisans to carry loaded weapons in public would reinstate the ability of larger suburbs to ban the ownership of so-called assault weapons.

The proposal approved by lawmakers earlier this year would have denied suburbs from banning assault weapons if they didn't do it within 10 days of the law taking affect. Any existing bans, including Cook County's law, would be left alone.

Quinn on Tuesday rewrote the legislation to allow suburbs with more than 25,000 people to ban assault weapons whenever they want.

"It has nothing to do with concealed carry," he said.

Lawmakers approved the legislation without Quinn's changes overwhelmingly in May and could seek to override his rewrites next week. They face a court-ordered deadline to legalize concealed carry in Illinois and could also choose to go along with Quinn's changes.

Several suburbs in recent weeks have debated assault weapon bans, given the potential 10-day deadline, but so far most have taken a pass.

Wheeling rejected a ban outright Monday. Island Lake and Hainesville dropped their proposals. Buffalo Grove and Hanover Park decided to put off the debate. And Highland Park banned assault weapons just last week.

Suburban gun owners and leaders have had to watch Springfield's movement on the issue closely this year as changing proposals have threatened to dictate where local people could carry weapons.

Earlier plans would have allowed all larger suburbs to make their own concealed carry rules or exempt just Cook County from the statewide proposal.

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