With concealed carry gun law pending, River Forest considers ban on assault weapons

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By Deborah Kadin

Contributing Reporter

Dozens of assault weapons could be banned in River Forest under a measure pending before River Forest village trustees.

In addition to possession of the weapons, magazines, "belt, drum, feed strip or similar device that has a capacity of, or can be readily restored or converted to accept, more than ten (10) rounds of ammunition," would be barred as part of the ordinance, which is still being tweaked by village attorneys.

Trustees took testimony from five people – two of them from River Forest - but did not discuss the measure or give any inkling if it would be debated or voted on.

"It's under advisement," Village President Catherine Adduci said.

If it ends up being approved, the ban would be similar to one already on the books in Oak Park and Chicago. Cook County also has a ban. Highland Park approved one on June 24.

The measure under consideration is in response to a provision of a concealed carry bill, approved by the Illinois General Assembly in May, which would prohibit future assault weapons bans unless they are enacted by communities before or 10 days after Gov. Pat Quinn takes up the legislation.

The deadline for Quinn to sign it is July 9, imposed when the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down as unconstitutional Illinois' ban on concealed carry.

Banned if the ordinance is approved by trustees would be the Bushmaster, used in the Newtown Connecticut shootings as well as a version of the AR-15 used during the shootings inside an Aurora, Colorado movie theater in 2012.

The measure before River Forest trustees also would ban the firing of assault weapons. Violating the ban on possessing and/or firing an assault weapon is classified a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $750 fine. Weapons also would be confiscated.

Anyone turning in an assault weapon to the police department would not be prosecuted. All weapons confiscated by the court or turned in to the police department would be destroyed, according to the ordinance.

Members of the Illinois Rifle Association, who attended Monday night's meeting, objected to the ordinance, saying it was ill-conceived, unnecessary and likely to be challenged in court.

"One of the guns on the list – the AR-15 - is one that most people have," said Richard Schnedorf, a River Forest resident and long-time NRA member. "Some of these (on the list) are weapons of choice for the police and the military. River Forest doesn't need this. We don't have a gang problem here."

Military personnel, police officers and others working in a crime-fighting capacity, antique firearms owners and licensed firearms collectors would be exempt.

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Ray Simpson from Oak Park  

Posted: June 27th, 2013 1:02 PM

I guess we have yet to accurately define the problem. If we agree that bad people doing bad things with guns and irresponsible adults who allow children access to lethal weapons is a basic problem, we have taken the first step toward finding an answer. Neither of those two problems have anything to do with NRA -magazine capacity, scary looking guns, background checks and on and on. What is important is that the mental health, law enforcement and court system has to be central to the solution. Responsible shooting enthusiasts worry about hot shot cool dudes who love to show off and make noise at the range. We come in direct contact with them more often than we like to recount and some of them are dangerous. I am not sure what can be done about irresponsible adults who fail to secure their guns from children and young adults - any suggestions?

Carolos Marmol from River Forest, Illinois  

Posted: June 27th, 2013 12:44 PM

One of the nice things about living in RF is the town gov't used to be in the practice of enacting laws they were prepared to enforce. This seems so Oak-Parkey to me. I hope this is a one time thing.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: June 27th, 2013 11:25 AM

@George S. -Join in the discussion. This is a public forum and an open exchange of opinion and information is encouraged by the moderator. We are asked engage in a civil discourse and stay on topic. I believe that both Ray and I are following those guidlelines. Please note that my initial comment posted on 6/25 was not directed at any individual but intended to express my views on the proposed River Forest ordinance.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: June 27th, 2013 11:17 AM

Ray, I'm citing the findings obtained from recent surveys conducted by Johns Hopkins University, Gallup and Pew Research. The problem you describe having with me should be directed at those NRA members who state their support of a ban on military style semiautomatic weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines. I do find it presumptous of you to attempt to speak on behalf of liberals and describing the contents of my postings as hand wringing.

George S.  

Posted: June 27th, 2013 10:58 AM

Mr. Jim and Ray, the boards are for all. If you want to have a talk with yourself - please email or call or meet. You are not allowing free discussion by others. Do not do it here. Thank You

Ray Simpson from Oak Park  

Posted: June 27th, 2013 10:43 AM

@ Jim - I still have a problem with your statement since military style semi-automatics describe the greatest majority of hand guns and long guns in existence today. If you are referring to assault weapons then we need to define what that means. The NRA is always cautious of loosely defined guns to be banned because those definitions wind up twisted to define the universe. If given their choice liberals would define an assault weapon as a tube that has something come out one end very fast. Pea shooters qualify as do squirt guns. In competitive pistol shooting more than half of the competition is with a 1911 45. There isn't any gun in existence that screams military than a 1911. The majority of R&D money is spent by the military, the civilian market is driven by advancements in design and accuracy that results from military development. You seem to be hand wringing over the wrong problem. Keep the illegal guns off the street - even your demonized NRA will join you singing that chorus.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: June 27th, 2013 10:17 AM

Ray, I should have been more specific about the survey of NRA members. It found that a majority favored a ban on military style semiautomatic weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines. Wayne LaPierre and the gun industry strongly oppose any restrictions.

Ray Simpson from Oak Park  

Posted: June 27th, 2013 8:32 AM

@ Jim, Please note that NRA members do not favor banning semi-automatic weapons. They go along with the existing restrictions on automatic weapons (Machine guns). All of this is empty rhetoric since we fail to address bad people with illegal weapons who thumb their noses at residents who make their lives easier and more lucrative. Since the average thug cannot out think you, his advantage is brute power. Faced with the possibility of meeting equal power is a message that does get through and is a deterrent. Note, I didn't imply that you had to be armed! Only the possibility that you might be armed will cause them to look for weaker victims. Zero tolerance for armed violence or felony is an approach that isn't dependent on slamming lobby groups or stepping on constitutional rights of good people. Our system isn't built on restraining people for what they might do, but is dependent on holding them responsible for what they actually do. You would not have to put many thugs behind bars before the word would get out that our communities are poor hunting grounds. The DOJ estimates that the average armed felon commits a crime every 18 days. That is about 20 crimes a year. If you put him/her away for 10 years, you have prevented 200 crimes. What is the cost of law enforcement, legal and residents losses from those 200 events.

RF Achievement  

Posted: June 27th, 2013 6:32 AM

What -- so this is the kind of "keep RF going" that aducci was talking about in the spring? Why did she even bring this to the table. It is up to the intelligence of the Trustees to either get this off the table or soundly defeat it if aducci insists on this coming up for a vote. Remember, it is the President who brings measures to the table. So, during her first 100 days, this is her focus? Has the feel of Springfield all over it. Is this part of a Deal?

Long time Oak Parker.  

Posted: June 26th, 2013 6:37 PM

Well said, Ray Simpson!!! Be careful River Forest, do you really want to be like Oak Park and Chicago?

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: June 26th, 2013 5:44 PM

John, I'm convinced that the gun lobby serves only to protect the interests of manufacturers, dealers and wholesalers. A majority of NRA members surveyed indicate strong support for stricter enforcement of existing laws. mandatory jail time for illegal sales, a ban on both high capacity magazines and semiautomatic weapons, and increased background checks. When LaPierre opposes such common sense measures, he ignores NRA members' views. There is common ground shared by both gun owners and those who do not own a weapon. That's where the discussion should be focused and not be derailed by individuals with highly questionable motives.

Brian Slowiak from Oak Park  

Posted: June 26th, 2013 5:02 PM

Question: Do the River Forest police need to obtain a search warrant to remove the ammunition from a magazine to determine how many bullets (ten or less) are in the magazine?

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: June 26th, 2013 4:26 PM

Ray - indignation? I have no anger when it comes to the gun lobby, but I do have a viewpoint that I standby. Gun control is neither a liberal or conservative issue. Not everything can simplified to a single word.

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: June 26th, 2013 3:44 PM

John, it's not a matter of giving up to the NRA. The fact is that the courts have ruled in favor of the rights of gun owners and there are few politicians willing to take on the powerful gun lobby. For manufacturers, dealers and wholesalers this is only about their bottom line. They want to increase sales and generate more revenue. The NRA serves those interests as evidenced by the organization's strong objections to any type of regulations regarding, magazine capacity, weapon design, gun show sales, etc.,. Even requirements supported by a majority of NRA members have been dismissed by LaPierre. He's also now on record against proposals that he previously endorsed. We no longer engage in a discussion about what the founding fathers viewed as the intent or purpose of the 2nd amendment. The debate falls apart with name calling on both sides, charges of political bias and claims of rights being violated or denied. Will stricter enforcement of existing laws, keeping guns out of the hands of disturbed people and criminals, and arming school teachers produce a safer society? I have my doubts. Time will tell.

Ray Simpson from Oak Park  

Posted: June 26th, 2013 3:40 PM

@ JBM - you opened the door with unfounded liberal drivel and when called to support your claims you hide behind indignation. Not good enough!

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: June 26th, 2013 3:35 PM

Ray - Rec -- I stand by my comments. I have no intent to get involved in you bogus research adventure.


Posted: June 26th, 2013 3:01 PM

Show me the moral grounds to not have the right to carry, or own an AR15 style firearm. This firearm is NOT an assault weapon when used responsibly. Remember this, any weapon (your hand, a knife, a bat, a car) is an assault weapon when used against another. Be it by accident or by design.


Posted: June 26th, 2013 2:58 PM

I have read a lot of arguments here. I see that some are closed minded (JBM) thinking that a law will stop a fool with a gun from shooting another. THAT'S foolish. Others are saying the Gov. officials are the problem. No! The real issue here is the same as with all others, your CHOICE to carry or not. Same as your choice to drive a car or not when drinking. When a zealot spouts I cannot have the right in this country to do something and has no moral grounds on which to stand, that is wrong.

Ray Simpson from Oak Park  

Posted: June 26th, 2013 2:57 PM

@ JBM - Please provide some source for your claim that the NRA wants to force you to do anything. They are active in protecting my rights to own guns and your rights not to do anything. You demonize a group that you disagree with and are ignorant of their actual activities. I challenge you to provide ANY reference or position the NRA has advocated that forces you to own, touch or use a gun. You pass out the White House tripe as if it was settled science - you are being played for a fool.

Ray Simpson from Oak Park  

Posted: June 26th, 2013 2:40 PM

I am involved in the same firearms regulation discussion in Oak Park. After 30+ hours of meetings we have yet to define the problem. Without knowing what troubles you face how in the heck can you craft a solution that is more than window dressing. The two sides in Oak Park seem hell bent to tell the other side how to live their lives, but totally unwilling to put anything on the table themselves. Local ordinances don't mean squat. Everything they claim is already covered by federal, state and local laws - passed by a legislature and signed into law. If you want to do something with teeth - insist that your community get tough on the thugs who probably cannot read your ordinance , much less know what it means. Worse yet they don't care. Any ordinance you write will only impact sport shooters, hunters and those interested in home defense. If you think about it , these are your neighbors, friends and good citizens - NEVER the problem!

John Butch Murtagh from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: June 26th, 2013 1:28 PM

The point is Jim that there are many people that do not want guns in their house of concealed on their bodies. There are people who are not criminal or mentally disturbed that are not capable of sighting, firing or even cleaning a gun. The NRA's goal seems to the arming of everyone. There are a lot of reasons to live in Oak Park. Not having to be concerned about the likelihood that there are a lot of people with guns in their homes or pockets is one. Where does the rights of gun owners and gun rejectors meet. It is a bit early to be giving up our rights to the NRA.


Posted: June 26th, 2013 1:15 PM

And Nikolai- it's nonsense to say pressure cookers killed three people in Boston. That's like saying shell casings kill people, not bullets. It's the load of explosives and nails packed inside that killed and maimed in Boston. ...Explosives, by the way, that can't be traced by law enforcement because the NRA defeated sensible efforts to tag explosives.


Posted: June 26th, 2013 1:06 PM

The weapon used in the last River Forest murder was in fact a handgun, LFOD.

Tom from River Forest  

Posted: June 26th, 2013 12:44 PM

Do you gun nuts have any original thoughts to add to the discussion or will just constantly repeat the tripe from the NRA website?

live free or die  

Posted: June 26th, 2013 12:16 PM

Towns that did not pass AWB, St Charles, Oswego, West Chicago

live free or die from river forest  

Posted: June 26th, 2013 11:59 AM

The weapons of choice in the last two murders in RF were a hammer and a baseball bat , will they be banned

Hopeful from Oak Park  

Posted: June 26th, 2013 11:09 AM

I hope they do. I understand there is some vernacular with regards to "assault weapons" but the idea of the ordinance would be good. If you are going hunting with an AR 15 I think you have some mental issues. I understand people love guns. Fine... The problem is people are idiots and shoot themselves and others. Take care!

Jack Hughes from Chicago, Illinois  

Posted: June 26th, 2013 9:29 AM

Is River Forest a nanny community?

Jim Coughlin from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: June 25th, 2013 11:34 PM

What we've been told and even promised by gun rights advocates is just enforcing existing laws and allowing people to carry conceal weapons will help reduce unlawful acts involving guns. Armed school teachers can serve as an effective deterrent and possibly saved lives at Sandy Hook elementary. An unlimited and unrestricted supply of weapons in the hands of law abiding citizens is the only answer and the Supreme Court agrees. Focus only on keeping guns out of the hands of mentally disturbed individuals and criminals. There's no way to make sure that it is a responsible person purchasing a gun or even requiring that they be fully trained. The gun manufacturers, wholesalers and dealers, and the NRA have won. Politicians in Washington aren't going to push for reforms.The proposed River Forest ordinance will certainly be challenged and, if overturned, stick taxpayers with all the legal bills. What's the point?

joe from south oak park  

Posted: June 25th, 2013 10:51 PM

The sad fact is that this really isn't about assault weapons. It's a de facto ban on many popular modern handguns. This is really what the folks pushing this law are after. They want to whittle away at which firearms a person can legally own to the point that Jan Schakowsky mentioned where handguns are banned entirely.

Scott from Oak Park  

Posted: June 25th, 2013 9:01 PM

A lady killed a man in Texas a couple weeks ago with a high heel shoe, we need to ban the high heels, I see no box cutters banned after 9/11. What aboutt knives can we ban them? What about baseball bats...they can kill. Lets make laws for the law abiding, not to protect them. Another stupid moron in govt that will not make an ounce of sense, not even make them sleep better. Please people use your head a bit this will not make a difference!


Posted: June 25th, 2013 7:08 PM

The extremely biased language is uncalled for. most modern weapons (including handguns) have magazines that hold no LESS than ten rounds. the AR15 is always targeted by politicians because it looks scary. and sandy hook? what about boston? should we outlaw the possession of pressure cookers because they killed 3 people and maimed others? this issue is not a question of what the government will do, it is a question of what a government's citizens will let it get away with doing. This is insanity.

Steven from River Forest  

Posted: June 25th, 2013 6:01 PM

Dozens of assault weapons including the type used to kill 26 children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December could be banned in River Forest under a measure pending before River Forest village trustees. Boy, that's not to BIASED, is it. How about reporting without your own little twist to turn people to your side. These guns are not assault weapons. They are sporting rifles .

Violet Aura  

Posted: June 25th, 2013 5:33 PM

Assault weapons account for less than 5% of all gun deaths and they wanna focus on THEM?! And using Sandy Hoax as a reason--lovely. Problem/reaction/solution: learn it. live it.

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