A Small Town Bans Assault Weapons
The village board of Chicago suburb Deerfield, Ill., voted unanimously Monday to ban assault rifles and high-capacity magazines—and it’s planning to heavily fine residents who don’t comply.
Deerfield outlawed weapons with recognizable names like the AK-47 and the AR-15, but over a dozen other weapons are listed in the ordinance as well. The ordinance enumerates several reasons for the ban, including the use of assault weapons in an “alarming number of notorious mass shooting incidents at public schools, public venues, places of worship and place of public accommodation.” It references the Parkland, Fla., shooting specifically.
The authors of the legislation claim the law “may increase the public’s sense of safety … not withstanding potential objections regarding the availability of alternative weaponry or the enforceability of such a ban.”
Fines for noncompliance can range from $250 to a hefty $1,000 a day and will continue until all residents follow the new ordinance. It will go into effect on June 13.
I’m proud of communities like my home Deerfield that are stepping forward to say enough is enough. I don’t believe military-style assault weapons belong on our streets and have co-sponsored a bill that would ban the sale and manufacture of these weapons. https://t.co/RpBPN30A1E
— Rep. Brad Schneider (@RepSchneider) April 4, 2018
The Chicago Tribune reports that “the trustees had virtually no debate Monday night” before they passed the ban. But many among the 70 residents who showed up for the meeting were not happy about the action.
Joel Siegel of the neighboring town of Lincolnwood encouraged civil disobedience as a way to stay safe. “There’s an ancient and honored American tradition called disobeying an unjust law,” Siegel said. “I have urged [people] to listen to their conscience and if so moved do not obey this law.”
Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA), told CNN, “They are blatantly violating state law and they are violating the Second Amendment.” He added that the ISRA has been receiving calls from people upset about the ban and believes that a coming legal challenge by the organization will succeed.
Chris W. Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association’s lobbying arm, said in a written statement: “Every law-abiding villager of Deerfield has the right to protect themselves, their homes, and their loved ones with the firearm that best suits their needs.”
Another neighboring town, Highland Park, passed a similar ordinance several years ago. The town faced opposition in court on the grounds that its gun restrictions were unconstitutional. However, in December 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the challenge, which effectively handed the victory to Highland Park.
Deerfield Mayor Harriet Rosenthal decided to take up the ban after the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland. “Enough is enough,” Rosenthal said. “Those students are so articulate—just like our students. There is no place here for assault weapons.”
In a press release from Deerfield’s management office, Rosenthal is quoted as saying: “We hope that our local decision helps spur state and national leaders to take steps to make our communities safer.”Wait, before you go…
If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface. We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.
Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.Support Truthdig