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Illinois is one of only eight states that allow municipalities to prohibit and regulate the use of firearms through the license of home rule. Illinois municipalities have used their home rule license to pass collections of gun laws that can only be described as contradictory and incomprehensible.

An examination of municipal ordinances on the web site of the Illinois State Police, and an article titled "Wilmette enforces gun ban: Resident who shot intruder charged" by the Chicago Tribune, reveals that:

Four municipalities have vehicle impoundment and seizure ordinances. For example, an individual driving through Aurora with a BB gun is subject to having his vehicle impounded. In Carol Stream individuals are prohibited from transporting a gun that is enclosed in a case, while state law requires that guns be enclosed in a case!

Nineteen municipalities regulate or prohibit sales between private citizens, or retail dealers and private citizens. This is in spite of the fact that the state already prohibits sales to individuals who do not possess FOID cards, and the fact that all sales are already subject to a three-day waiting period.

Thirteen municipalities are known to place additional prohibitions or restrictions on private ownership of firearms beyond what the state imposes. These prohibitions include not only pistols and revolvers, but rifles, shotguns, and ammunition.

Fourteen municipalities have owner licensing and registration requirements. Some of these are direct licensing systems; others are indirect registration systems where the police are able to acquire records of retail firearm dealers.

Three municipalities provide exemptions from the Gunrunning (720 ILCS 5/24-31) and Firearm Owner’s Identification Act (430 ILCS 65/3). The exemptions from these laws allow criminals or their surrogates to voluntarily surrender guns to police without identifying themselves. Chicago has passed one of these ordinances in spite of the fact that Chicago has sued the ATF to get trace information for guns used in crimes!

There are at least nine municipalities that are in violation of Illinois State Public Act 92?0238, which requires that they submit their local ordinances to the Illinois State Police. A citizen can download all of the ordinances that are published on their web site, try to conform to their requirements, and yet violate an ordinance simply because a municipality never submitted their ordinances in to the state police. Other municipalities have submitted incomplete sets of ordinances with missing pages.

Do these ordinances improve the safety and welfare of Illinois residents? It is interesting to note that municipalities with the most complex ordinances generally do not have prohibitions against brandishing or discharge of firearms within city limits. This would suggest that the focus of these ordinances are not on safety, but to simply discourage firearm ownership based on a belief that firearms cause a degradation of moral character. This is perfectly illustrated by the actions of the Trustees of the Village of Calumet Park, who wrote the following statement in Ordinance No. 82-382:

Whereas, the unlawful and injurious employment of firearms is not confined solely to immature persons, incompetent persons, or individuals of previously demonstrated bad moral character and repute but often are unlawfully and injuriously employed by mature persons who are competent and of previously good moral character and repute...

If you believe that ownership of firearms does not cause a moral degradation of character, and that Illinois should join Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, and Wisconsin in having uniform statewide firearm laws, please contact your local representative and ask him to support HB3631 by signing on as a co-sponsor. This bill, Local Government Firearm Regulation Preemption Act, would strip municipalities of the license to pass these misguided laws that do not reduce crime, but simply hurt honest firearm owners. The sponsor of this bill is Republican Representative Rich Brauer, and his telephone number is (217) 782-0053.

Brent Hanson
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