Skokie village board passes resolution calling for state, federal ban on assault weapons

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The village of Skokie called on the state and federal governments to enact “effective and comprehensive legislation” to protect communities from gun violence, including banning assault weapons and large capacity magazines.

The resolution was approved unanimously by the village board Sept. 6.

Skokie has had a ban on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines since 2013. On July 5, several residents and State Rep. Denyse Wang Stoneback, a Democrat who represents the 16th District, urged the village board to take further action regarding gun control in the wake of the Fourth of July mass shooting in Highland Park.

“We’re all well aware of the (gun) crisis in the country, I think,” Mayor George Van Dusen said at the village board meeting. “This is a resolution that is very close to my heart.”

There are no gun sale shops or shooting ranges in Skokie, which modeled its resolution after one approved recently by Highland Park, village spokeswoman Ann Tennes said. Skokie’s resolution was developed at the request of Van Dusen, who’d consulted with fellow board members about the matter even before the July 4 tragedy, Tennes said.

The resolution is intended to fill gaps in federal legislation regarding assault weapons, Van Dusen said. In addition to a state and federal ban on assault weapons and large capacity magazines, Skokie’s resolution also calls for:

  • universal background checks, waiting periods and age requirements for gun purchase.
  • strengthening “red flag” laws to allow law enforcement, family members, employers, coworkers and school employees to obtain restraining orders against individuals suspected of being a danger to themselves or others, and to allow law enforcement to remove unsecured weapons during domestic or mental health calls.
  • increasing penalties for “straw buyers,” or people who buy weapons for others, and for those who sell to straw buyers.
  • mandating safe storage as a condition for firearms ownership.
  • mandating gun safety training as a condition for selling, purchasing or possessing firearms.
  • repealing the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act and other laws that protect manufacturers and sellers of firearms from being liable for the harm caused by guns.
  • enacting stricter state rules to screen applicants and issue Firearms Owners Identification cards.

Skokie and Highland Park were among at least 12 municipalities in Illinois that rushed to enact a ban on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines in 2013, according to previous reporting.

That’s when the Illinois General Assembly passed legislation allowing residents to carry concealed firearms, along with a provision allowing home rule municipalities to regulate assault weapons within a 10-day window.

Van Dusen exhorted the General Assembly to allow municipalities to enact their own local bans.

“What we need are other municipalities to have the opportunity to voice themselves on this important question,” he said.

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September 15, 2022 at 05:54PM

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