Naperville City Council Passes Ordinance Banning Sale of Assault Rifles

sign on sidewalk pointing to gun shop that would be affected by city council ordinance
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At their Tuesday meeting, Naperville City Council voted 8-1 to pass an ordinance prohibiting the local sale of assault rifles. The decision came at 1:20 a.m, after four hours of public comment and another hour of deliberation from the council.

High-Powered Rifles Sales Ban

The ordinance bans the sale of certain high-powered rifles as well as their corresponding high-capacity magazines by licensed sellers. However, sales of those products to federal, state or local law enforcement as well as members of the U.S. military are permitted.

The lone “no” vote to the ordinance was Councilman Paul Hinterlong, who believed it was not the Naperville City Council’s place to rule on the topic of gun restrictions, and worried about potential lawsuits that may come, challenging the ordinance’s legality.

“Why would we stick our necks out on the line?” said Councilman Hinterlong. “People are very irritated that their money is going to be spent to defend this when we don’t even have to. We have not even hired an attorney to defend this yet. If we lose, who will be stuck with the bills?”

Local businesses, Naperville’s Range USA and Law Weapons and Supply will both be impacted by this new ordinance. The ban applies to licensed gun sellers, but not private sales by unlicensed parties.

“Law Weapons provides value to the community,” said owner of Law Weapons and Supply Robert Bevis. “The arrests made by police through our efforts, the 10,000-plus firearms we have destroyed for police departments, the training we provide to the citizens, the hundreds of ghost guns we have serialized and our deep-seated relationships with law enforcement in the area.”

Definition of “Assault Rifle”

The ordinance 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 ordinance also describes an assault rifle 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 original ordinance was drafted by council members Theresa Sullivan, Ian Holzhauer and Patrick Kelly after the Fourth of July mass shooting in Highland Park.

“We play a role in this problem if we’re watching these weapons be sold in our city and collecting sales taxes on them, and at the same time accepting awards for being the safest city in America,” said Councilwoman Sullivan.”

Effective January, 2023

The ordinance will go into 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.

“Gun violence is a public health and safety issue,” said president of the League of Women Voters of Naperville Susan Craighead. “This ordinance represents an important step in helping us live peacefully and without fear.”

Reporting for Naperville News 17, I’m Will Payne.