Naperville City Council to vote on sale ban of high-powered rifles, but with exceptions

The Naperville City Council will vote next week to ban the sale of certain high-powered rifles in the city, but the proposed ordinance will include key exceptions.

The city is considering the restrictions in the wake of recent mass shootings in Highland Park, Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, N.Y. More than 50 people spoke out on both sides of the issue at last month's city council meeting when the original ordinance was introduced.

To bridge the gap between the two sides, Mayor Steve Chirico offered compromises that are included in the new version of the ordinance.

According to the proposed ordinance that will be voted on, the sale of certain high-powered rifles would be banned in the city except for sales to federal, state or local law enforcement agencies and officers. The exception also would apply to sales to the U.S. military, including the Illinois National Guard.

A ban on the sale of certain semi-automatic handguns was part of the original ordinance. But handguns have been removed from a three-page list of weapons that now features rifles only. High-capacity magazines for handguns also were removed from the sale ban list.

"I don't want to put any limits on our police, in any way, on this," Chirico said last month. "My focus would be on the weapons that were brought forward - these rifles that are semi-automatic, high-capacity rifles that have so commonly been used in these mass shootings."

The exceptions arose after Robert Bevis, the owner of Law Weapons and Supply in Naperville, spoke at last month's meeting about how the original ordinance would devastate his business. He said a large part of his sales include high-powered rifles to law enforcement and military personnel. "We spend a lot of time with law enforcement," Bevis said last month. "Please ask any police officer in the city of Naperville. I bet you the majority of them have been in our store and have bought or taken services from us."

If approved Tuesday by the city council, the ordinance would take effect on Jan. 1, 2023. While the ordinance would not apply to private transactions, two Naperville businesses - Law Weapons and Range USA - would be affected in addition to other licensed gun sellers such as pawnshops.

Violations would incur a $1,000 fine for the first offense and subsequent fines of $2,500.

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