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Naperville looking into prohibiting the sale of assault weapons

In the wake of the Fourth of July mass shooting in Highland Park, Naperville officials are looking to ban the sale of assault weapons in the city.

The Naperville City Council on Tuesday night will begin discussions on a proposed ordinance that would prohibit the sale of assault weapons and large-capacity magazines.

“Every few weeks or so when we see these mass shootings with military-style weapons, it just continues to build and build, and at some point, even on a local level, we have to be able to do something,” Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico said.

A rooftop sniper opened fire on the crowd gathered at the Highland Park Independence Day parade, killing seven people and wounding dozens. Authorities said the gunman used a Smith and Wesson M&P 15, a semi-automatic rifle. Police recovered more than 80 spent casings from the scene.

Less than two weeks later, Naperville’s draft ordinance was placed on the agenda at the request of three city council members, Chirico said.

“While the particular ordinance, as I review it, may just be window dressing because it’s a local ordinance and doesn’t do anything about surrounding cities and states, it still may be enough just to show political courage to do the right thing for our community,” Chirico said.

Naperville may not be the only home-rule community considering restrictions on gun sales at a local level. Officials from several towns — Chirico declined to say which — have asked for a copy of Naperville’s proposed ordinance.

“We’ll provide that, but I think it’s on everyone’s mind,” Chirico said.

In Elmhurst, Mayor Scott Levin said he’s speaking with other mayors in DuPage about working together to urge state and federal lawmakers to “take more meaningful action in terms of legislation dealing with assault-type weapons.”

Levin co-chairs the legislative committee of the DuPage Mayors and Managers Conference.

“I know that we all look at the video from the Highland Park incident and could all see that town as being very similar to ours,” Levin said.

He’s also been speaking with aldermen in Elmhurst about where they stand on the issue. But Levin expressed concerns, saying a local ban on assault weapons “makes a statement, but it doesn’t produce anything meaningful.” He also said such a proposal may create local controversy and divert debate to a local level.

As written, the Naperville ordinance defines an “assault weapon” as a semi-automatic rifle with a magazine that is not fixed and has any of the following features: a pistol grip, a forward grip, a folding telescopic or detachable stock, a grenade launcher, a barrel shroud or a threaded barrel; and a semi-automatic pistol with any of the following features: a threaded barrel, second pistol grip a barrel shroud, capacity to accept a detachable magazine outside of the pistol grip, a semi-automatic version of an automatic firearm, a weight of 50 ounces or more when unloaded or a stabilizing brace.

The proposed ordinance also defines a large-capacity magazine as a device accepting “more than 10 rounds of ammunition; and does not include an attached tubular device designed to accept, and capable of operating only with, .22 caliber rimfire ammunition.”

The ordinance lists a dozen mass shootings over the last decade, going back to the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in 2012.

“There have been many other mass shootings during the last decade, and it has become an unacceptable fact of life that no municipality is exempt from the reality that its citizens are at risk,” the measure states.

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