Highland Park resolution seeks state, federal leadership in weapons ban

Updated 8/18/2022 11:00 AM

It took the United States Supreme Court to uphold the validity of Highland Park's current ordinance against "assault weapons and large capacity magazines."

The city again seeks federal support.


The state of Illinois, too, also named at Monday's Highland Park City Council meeting in a resolution that calls for the state and the U.S. Congress "to take effective and comprehensive action to protect our communities from gun violence."

Its presentation came six weeks to the day a Highwood man killed seven people and left dozens injured after firing 83 rounds in less than a minute into people lining Central Avenue for Highland Park's Independence Day parade.

Naturally, the City Council on Monday approved the resolution by a 7-0 vote.

"Mass shootings are a uniquely American problem, and Highland Park is not an island. No community is safe until broader action is taken," Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering said before reading the three-page resolution.

Its contents, she said, "reflect the values of our community and send a clear message that state and federal action is critical to reducing the likelihood of additional mass shootings."

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It did not go into the detail of the ordinance of Oct. 14, 2013, amending "The Highland Park Code of 1968" regarding manufacture, sale and possession of firearms in the city. That ordinance exhaustively defined elements it was banning and specifically listed many rifles, shotguns and pistols.

Plaintiffs, including the Illinois State Rifle Association, challenged its legality under the Second Amendment. The case wound through United States district and appellate courts until Dec. 7, 2015, when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Highland Park's argument.

On Jan. 11, 2016, it was approved by Rotering and current council members Anthony Blumberg, Michelle Holleman and Kim Stone, attested to by current City Manager Ghida Neukirch, then the city clerk.

On Monday they and their fellow council members continued their effort to curb gun violence which, according to the resolution, annually kills 38,000 Americans.


"Nothing has changed. We need help from all levels of government and we need to pursue all options," Rotering said.

The resolution called to the U.S. Congress and state of Illinois to:

Ban manufacture, purchase, sale, possession and use of semi-automatic weapons, high capacity magazines and body armor outside of military or law enforcement;

Strengthen and eliminate exceptions on background checks, waiting periods and age requirements to purchase the weapons;

Strengthen "red flag" laws against the purchase of weapons by people who would be a danger to themselves or others;

Create legislation against "straw buyers" who would buy guns for others;

Mandate safe storage of weapons as a condition of ownership;

Legislate for proper training of those selling or possessing firearms;

Repeal statutes allowing immunity to gun manufacturers and sellers "for their negligence, recklessness, or failure to know their customers in the marketing and sale of firearms"; and

For the state to tighten Firearms Owners Identification (FOID) card rules and screening.

"Make no mistake," Rotering said. "This is not where we end our fight to save lives. We ask others to join us and trade thoughts and prayers for action."

Several public speakers, Highland Park residents, were on board.

One woman who attended the parade with her 6-year-old son said she'd traveled to Washington, D.C., "multiple times" to lobby for a weapons ban. A young mother said she purchased bulletproof backpacks for her 2- and 3-year-old children.

A student said: "As a young person in America, I've been training my entire life for the moment I'd be affected by gun violence."

For Rotering and the City Council, that moment arrived.

"It's said that often, with grief comes purpose," the mayor said. "We will continue to step up and confront the challenges that lie ahead."

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