Will Illinois Towns Ban Assault Weapons?

Assault weaponsIllinois has become the last state in America to allow its residents to legally carry concealed weapons.  While Governor Pat Quinn vetoed it, the state legislature was able to override his veto, but the bill contains a provision that allows Illinois municipalities to pass their own gun laws within a ten-day period, including potential bans on assault weapons. Gun rights advocates have been focused on this legislation in Illinois, especially as debate over restrictions on assault weapons has been in the spotlight in the months after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown, Connecticut.

Various towns in The Prairie State have been holding hearings and allowing citizens to submit testimony about what, if any, gun laws they want enacted for their towns. One Illinois woman shared with The Broad Side her prepared remarks for her town’s elected officials on her hope for a full assault weapon ban:

Dear Mayor and Trustees,

I am nearly a lifelong resident of our town having grown up here and now watching my own children thrive in our village. I am writing to urge you to support an assault weapons ban in our town.

I do so in the memory of Noah Pozner. Noah was the youngest of the 20 children massacred at Sandy Hook Elementary School late last year. I committed to remembering the name of one child because 20 was more than I could bear. That’s the thing about assault weapons. They kill a lot of people in a little time. Noah himself, may he rest in peace, was shot 11 times. His jaw and his left hand were mostly gone according to an interview with his mother. This is what assault weapons do.

Assault weapons are designed with military features to allow for rapid and accurate spray firing. They are not designed for hunting or sport or even self-defense. Assault weapons are designed to kill people- of any age- quickly and efficiently. Assault weapons are lethal, more lethal than sport guns. Assault weapons have no place in a family-friendly community like ours.

When I was growing up we gained an international reputation as the town that banned handguns. Truly. My uncle called us from a business trip in Asia to tell us he heard about it on the news there. (This was in the early 1980s-well before the public was using the internet.)

The handgun ban was found to be unconstitutional, but this will not happen with an assault weapons ban. The Supreme Court has ruled that second amendment rights do not protect the right to own weapons that are designed for the battlefield and have no connection to lawful self-defense in a home.

Why would a person want a weapon that is designed not for sport or self-defense but to kill many people at once? I don’t know. Why would a family want to live in a community that allows residents to own such weapons? I don’t know that either.

I urge you to join other nearby communities in supporting a ban of all assault weapons.

Where do you stand on the debate over assault weapons?

Image via Wikimedia Commons/U.S. Navy

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