The original ordinance was discussed at the July 19 city council meeting, with about 50 speakers on both sides of the issue giving their opinions during public comment. Since then, it has seen some changes.
Council voted 6-2 that night in favor of changing the ordinance to create an exemption for military personnel and law enforcement. Under the updated version, Naperville will still allow the sales of high powered rifles to federal, state or local law enforcement agencies, as well as members of the U.S. military.
That change was prompted in part by comments at the meeting from Robert Bevis, owner of Law and Weapons Supply in Naperville.
“Please ask any police officer in the City of Naperville, I bet you the majority of them have been in my store and have bought or taken services from us. I donate to the police departments, we work with the FBI and I help both groups with all types of issues,” said Bevis.
The newer version of the ordinance also removed handguns and high-capacity magazines from the sales ban. The current version only bans sales on assault rifles.
According to the ordinance, an assault rifle is described as a semiautomatic rifle with non-fixed magazines that include any of the following: a pistol grip, a forward grip, an adaptable stock, a grenade launcher, a barrel shroud or a threaded barrel. The ordinance also considers an assault rifle to be a semiautomatic rifle with a fixed-magazine that has the capacity to hold more than 10 rounds. The definition includes all AK and AR type rifles.
The ban would apply to licensed gun sellers, but not private sales by unlicensed parties.
The original ordinance was proposed by council members Theresa Sullivan, Ian Holzhauer and Patrick Kelly after the Fourth of July mass shooting in Highland Park. Holzhauer said he was glad to hear public feedback during the initial discussion of the ordinance in July.
“I really appreciated that we had a good contingent of people from all perspectives, including the perspectives of the owners of the stores that would be affected by the ordinance,” said Holzhauer. “The public comment really helped us form an ordinance that is good for the city.”
If the ordinance is approved it will take effect on January 1, 2023. Violators of the ordinance will suffer a $1,000 fine for their first offense, and subsequent fines of $2,500.
Reporting for Naperville News 17, I’m Will Payne.