'We have to figure out what that looks like': Naperville police chief talks about enforcing ban on gun sales

Naperville Police Chief Jason Arres said his department is still figuring out what enforcement will look like for the city's ordinance banning the sale of certain high-powered rifles.

Tuesday's comments came while discussing the city's crime statistics for 2022. While most categories saw stable numbers or a decline in criminal activity from previous years, the number of illegal firearms seized and recovered continues to rise dramatically.

Last year, 198 illegal firearms were seized in Naperville compared to fewer than 150 in 2021 and fewer than 100 in each of the previous two years.

Arres said officers seized 109 of the illegal guns during traffic stops. Last year, there were roughly 25,000 traffic stops in the city.

“I can't say what we prevented,” Arres said, “but I have no doubt we prevented shootings, whether it was in Naperville or in some other community by being proactive with that.”

Naperville police officers will start dealing with another form of illegal guns now that the city's sale ban on certain high-powered rifles is in effect.

On Friday, a federal judge denied a request for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction on the ordinance.

Linda LaCloche, the city's director of communications, said in the wake of the ruling, the city now considers the local ordinance and the broader state gun law to be in effect.

LaCloche also said City Attorney Mike DiSanto has been in communication with the two businesses most affected — Law Weapons and Supply and Range USA. She said both businesses acknowledged DiSanto's notification that the ordinance is in effect.

The ordinance was supposed to take effect on Jan. 1, but the city agreed to delay enforcement until after the ruling on the restraining order and injunction.

LaCloche said the city also delayed enforcing the state weapons law that was passed last month.

“We enacted the ordinance, and we have to figure out what that looks like,” Arres said.

Arres said the department likely will lean on the Illinois State Police as a partner because all gun sales are reported to that office.

“We don't rush into any type of investigation,” he said. “If we have a complaint or tip, we do everything you're supposed to and build the case to see if there's even one there.”

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