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posted: 7/4/2013 12:01 AM

Bartlett passes on opportunity to ban assault weapons

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In anticipation of Illinois' new concealed carry gun legislation going into effect, a discussion among Bartlett village board members took place Tuesday regarding the possible creation of a village ordinance banning assault weapons.

Meeting as the Committee of the Whole, the board members agreed early on in the discussion that they didn't feel an assault weapon ban was the role of the village.

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As part of state legislation, municipalities would have 10 days after the law was signed to pass their own assault weapons ordinance and have it supersede the state law. But Gov. Pat Quinn, in an amendatory veto Tuesday, reworded that provision to allow municipalities of 25,000 or more to adopt such a law at any time. The veto may be overridden by the legislature.

"If we avoid sending this to even a board vote and don't recognize the 10-day window ... we're avoiding any ban here, we're avoiding any legal consequences, we're upholding the Constitution," said Village President Kevin Wallace, adding that the village had received dozens of emails from residents who were against an assault weapon ban.

Trustee T.L. Arends agreed she wasn't comfortable creating a ban because it appears any municipality that passes an assault weapon ban will be challenged in court, and she didn't want the village to be stuck spending money on litigation.

Trustee Eric Shipman said the whole concept of municipalities creating assault weapon bans is "fraught with errors and legal issues.

"It's nothing, in my opinion, we want to deal with," he said. "The state makes the laws on weapons. Let them make the laws. If you're unsatisfied with it, go to your legislator."

Trustee Aaron Reinke agreed with the other trustees and said he felt a ban wouldn't necessarily make the residents safer anyway.

"Shame on the General Assembly for leaving us in this position," he added. "It's going to be a hodgepodge of regulations throughout the state. Really, once again, they failed us."

About 30 gun rights supporters in the audience broke into applause after the trustees had a chance to voice their opinions and agree to not pursue a ban. Those who wished to speak were given an opportunity to do so after the board made its decision, so most of their comments were a brief thank you.

"I appreciate you guys for thinking about this with common sense (and for) understanding the situation, and thank you for supporting the Constitution," said resident Brad Navarro, who echoed the sentiments of about 15 attendees who signed up to talk at the meeting.

Village Attorney Bryan Mraz told trustees he felt it was likely the legislature would overrule the veto, meaning the village board would go back to facing a 10-day window after the law takes affect to ban assault weapons, if they so choose.

"Understand, if you don't do it within the 10 days it's forever closed," Mraz said. "If you did something, you could amend it, but if you don't do anything within the window you won't have the ability to, in the future, adopt an assault weapons ban."

Mraz added that the part of the village in Cook County is already governed by the county's assault weapons ban, which was passed in 2006. The concealed carry proposal would not affect that ban or any other existing bans.

Wheeling, Island Lake and Hainesville are among several municipalities that have debated -- and declined -- the opportunity to create assault weapon bans in recent weeks. In June, Hanover Park decided to put off a debate on a ban until this month.

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