Friday, July 19, 2013

A mad dash for the firearms finish line

It has been a series of outbursts by local governments all across the Chicago metro area – various village boards and city councils are contemplating whether or not to impose their own laws restricting firearms ownership and storage.

City Halls across the area are addressing firearms
That issue got its big boost on Wednesday when both the City Council and the Cook County Board gave approval to resolutions that make it clear assault weapons (those that fire off multiple rounds of ammunition at a time) are not legal within their boundaries.

IN THE CASE of the county-wide ban, it applies to all 129 municipalities in Cook County – except for those communities that decide to impose their own even-more restrictive measures into law.

Which is an issue several communities are doing – although not every community is feeling the need to take on the issue. Although they’re definitely debating it here – even if the rest of Illinois is ignoring the issue.

The National Rifle Association has tried to counter such talk with their own propaganda. They have issued lists of municipalities that they claim have either rejected the idea, or have failed to act.

As though there is an overwhelming majority of people who are deciding not to take on this issue. The reality, however, is that their lists are incomplete.

THERE ARE JUST as many communities that put the rush on to approve this issue. We literally will have a patchwork of communities, and people are going to have to be very aware of where they are at any given moment when they have a firearm on them.

Just as an example, one NRA list pointed out that the south suburb of Flossmoor failed to approve restrictions on firearms.

Yet the neighboring municipalities of Homewood and Hazel Crest were among the first to approve the idea of firearms restrictions. That kind of split is going to be reality throughout the Chicago area, particularly as other communities spend the next few days taking up the issue.
Not everybody agrees w/ Lege's action
But whether they make the “deadline” is another question.

THAT DEADLINE IS the key to this rush of governmental activity.

For when the Illinois General Assembly took its vote July 9 to override Gov. Pat Quinn’s efforts to impose tougher firearms restrictions than the Legislature intended, their “concealed carry” law created a 10-day time period for local governments with home rule powers (those communities of more than 25,000 people) to create their own tougher laws.

That 10-day period, which had some people confused whether that meant working days or calendar days, ends Friday at midnight.

If a municipality does not act by then, state law theoretically would pre-empt them from ever taking on the issue.

HENCE, THE RUSH, and the number of municipal bodies (including the City Council in Chicago) that held special meetings to approve quickly-crafted assault weapons bans.

Although the reality is that many of those resolutions bear a strong resemblance to each other. They include lengthy lists of specific types of weapons that are now banned in those communities – even though the firearms advocates often say that it is too easy to convert other types of weapons into so-called assault weapons, thereby rendering specific lists as worthless.

Which has some local governments hoping that the inevitable NRA-inspired lawsuit focuses on Chicago’s law – making them clear of having to pay significant legal expenses to defend their intentions that do reflect the local will on the issue.

The people who are most eager to oppose stricter local laws on firearms also make their arguments that the gang members (which is how they want to think of too many people who aren’t exactly like themselves) aren’t going to follow any laws – making it necessary for them to have their own weapons for self-protection.

THAT ALWAYS STRIKES me as sounding like certain people being a little too anxious to shoot another human being. Besides, it could be argued that every law will have someone who chooses to ignore it. That doesn't make the law flawed in concept.

Although regardless of which side of this question one comes down upon, this legal rush of activity will come to an end soon. That deadline is approaching.

Unless we get a successful lawsuit against the state contending the Legislature’s actions were improper. If that were to happen, then the real political confusion would set in.


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