When 17 people were killed by a teenager with an assault rifle at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Valentine’s day, a renewed national debate on gun control laws erupted. Many gun control advocates began pushing anew for a complete ban on assault-style rifles and also large capacity magazines, since these are the items that have been used in most of the mass murders in the United States in recent years.
The prospects of there being federal gun control laws passed in the U.S. Congress is very low, which leaves state and local governments to be the ones to enact new laws if there are to be any passed.
We’ve seen some states take action, but now, in a suburb of Chicago, we are seeing an incorporated city do something which may lead the way for the rest of the country.
The city council of Deerfield, Illinois voted on Monday to approve a ban on “the possession, sale, and manufacture of assault weapons and large capacity magazines.” The rationale for the law is to “increase the public’s sense of safety.”
In addition to that, CBS Chicago has reported that anyone who refuses to surrender their firearm as required by the new ordinance will be subjec to a fine of up to $1,000 a day. The fines will continue to accrue until the weapon is surrendered to authorities or taken out of the city limits.
The Deerfield ordinance reads as follows: “The possession, manufacture and sale of assault weapons in the Village of Deerfield is not reasonably necessary to protect an individual’s right of self-defense or the preservation or efficiency of a well-regulated militia.”
So as of June 13, 2018, weapons outlawed in Deerfield will include the popular varieties of semiautomatic rifles with magazines that are able to hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Also banned are shotguns with revolving cylinders, and conversion kits from which assault weapons can be assembled.
The action by the Deerfield city council is very courageous and may show the way for other cities across the country to take gun control matters into their own hands since we have a Congress afraid to act because they are under the thumb of the NRA.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.