'A reasonable step': Lake County Board supports proposed new state, federal gun restrictions

The Lake County Board on Tuesday amended its legislative agenda to include support for state or federal initiatives to ban the sale or possession of certain rifles and other firearms-related measures.

The 16-5 vote along party lines was in response to the mass shooting during the Fourth of July parade in Highland Park in which seven people were killed and dozens injured.

“We're talking about a reasonable step people are expecting their government to take,” said county board member Paul Frank, who represents parts of Highland Park.

Frank was at the parade staging area with his family. He and board member Paras Parekh, who represents other portions of Highland Park and also was at the parade, asked the measures be added to the county's legislative agenda.

“We are going to be on the record saying we as a county are in support of a ban on assault weapons,” he said.

The addition says the county recognizes changes are necessary in state or federal regulation relating to firearm safety and control “due to the prevalence of gun violence” in the U.S.

Besides the ban on the sale or possession of certain rifles, the vote also affirms the county's position to support a mandate for safe storage of firearms, reforms to the Firearm Owners Identification card process and required training related to the sale or possession of firearms.

The vote followed a lengthy discussion during which some Republican board members asked for more time to gather opposing views.

“This is too important of an issue. We never opened up the floor to the opposing point of view,” said board member J. Kevin Hunter, who represents portions of Fox Lake, Ingleside, Lakemoor, Volo and other communities.

Republican board members Linda Pedersen of Antioch and Michael Danforth of Fox River Grove agreed.

“Give the other side the opportunity to come here, voice their opinions, tell us what facts they think are important and go from there,” Pedersen said.

Supporters said there was an opportunity for opposing views to be raised at a meeting of the board's legislative committee, which recommended the gun control measures be added to the legislative agenda.

“To say the other side was not heard is untrue,” said board member and committee Chair John Wasik of Grayslake.

A 21-year-old Highwood man accused of opening fire with a semi-automatic rifle from a rooftop pleaded not guilty last week to 117 charges. His next hearing is scheduled for Nov. 1.

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