Naperville looking into prohibiting the sale of some guns

  • Officers from the Illinois State Police confer near the scene of the Fourth of July mass shooting in Highland Park.

    Officers from the Illinois State Police confer near the scene of the Fourth of July mass shooting in Highland Park. Joe Lewnard/Daily Herald

 
 
Updated 7/14/2022 2:53 PM

Naperville officials are looking to ban the commercial sale of assault weapons in the city in response to the Fourth of the July mass shooting in Highland Park and other recent deadly attacks.

The Naperville City Council on Tuesday night will begin discussions of a proposed ordinance that would prohibit the sale of such firearms and large-capacity ammunition magazines. If approved, the ordinance would take effect on Jan. 1.

 

"Every few weeks or so when we see these mass shootings with military-style weapons, it just continues to build and build, and at some point, even on a local level, we have to be able to do something," Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico said.

A rooftop sniper opened fire on the crowd gathered at the Highland Park Independence Day parade, killing seven people and wounding dozens. Authorities said the gunman used a Smith & Wesson M&P 15, a semi-automatic rifle. Police recovered more than 80 spent casings from the scene.

On Wednesday, Naperville's draft ordinance was placed on the agenda at the request of three city council members, Chirico said. As written, the Naperville ordinance defines an "assault weapon" to include a semi-automatic rifle with a magazine that is not fixed and has certain features like a pistol grip.

"While the particular ordinance, as I review it, may just be window dressing because it's a local ordinance and doesn't do anything about surrounding cities and states, it still may be enough just to show political courage to do the right thing for our community," Chirico said.

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Council member Paul Leong declined to say if he would support the ordinance, but he did question how effective a municipal ban would be if the same weapons could be purchased in a neighboring town.

"But that doesn't mean we couldn't protect more people," Leong said.

He said he wants to talk to gun shop owners, police and other first responders before making any decisions about the ordinance.

At least two gun shops within Naperville would be affected by the ordinance. Messages to both gun shops, Range USA and Law Weapons & Supply, were not immediately returned Wednesday.

Naperville may not be the only community with home-rule powers considering restrictions on local gun sales. Officials from several towns have asked for a copy of Naperville's proposed ordinance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"We'll provide that, but I think it's on everyone's mind," Chirico said.

In Elmhurst, Mayor Scott Levin said he's speaking with other mayors in DuPage County about working together to urge state and federal lawmakers to "take more meaningful action in terms of legislation dealing with assault-type weapons."

Levin co-chairs the legislative committee of the DuPage Mayors and Managers Conference.

"I know that we all look at the video from the Highland Park incident and could all see that town as being very similar to ours," Levin said.

In Lombard, which lacks home-rule status, the village doesn't have the authority to regulate or ban assault weapons, officials say. Lombard could not enact regulations on the sale and possession of them by ordinance unless state legislation was passed that specifically allowed it to do so, according to Village Manager Scott Niehaus.

The Naperville ordinance would include a $1,000 fine for a first violation and a $2,500 fine violation for a second violation within 12 months. Fines would be assessed for each day a business is in violation of the ban.

The ordinance lists a dozen mass shootings going back to the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in 2012.

"There have been many other mass shootings during the last decade, and it has become an unacceptable fact of life that no municipality is exempt from the reality that its citizens are at risk," the measure states.

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