As the July 9 deadline to pass a concealed carry bill fast approaches, communities across the state either are striking preemptively with their own laws or are standing by watching cautiously.
Several suburban cities already are considering a ban on assault weapons. Highland Park earlier this week was one of the first home-rule communities to pass such a ban this year.
The bill, which Gov. Pat Quinn has not yet signed, gives communities 10 days from the day the law is enacted to ban assault weapons.
But as with many other aspects of the proposed law, which was passed in the closing days of the General Assembly's regular session, local legislators and advocates on either side are seeing gray.
'Right now,' said Kankakee Mayor Nina Epstein, 'there's so much confusion with that bill.'
The Illinois State Rifle Association is preparing to battle these bans on assault weapons, arguing simple modifications can turn popular pistols and rifles into illegal firearms.
Though the law excludes hand guns, the number of rounds a pistol can shoot before having to be reloaded might come under close scrutiny.
And the difference may come down to where you live.
'I think it's going to vary from place to place depending on how they write it,' said ISRA Director Richard Pearson of local ordinances.
Epstein, who said local police chiefs also are waiting to see what becomes of the state's concealed carry law, said she would support a ban on assault weapons.
'Why would we want those types of weapons in our communities?' she asked.
As some of the most vocal advocates on both sides of the gun debate continue to argue about the type of rifle used in the Newtown, Conn., massacre, a more reasoned debate is taking place.
Gun rights advocates say AR-15-style rifles are common at gun ranges and are used for target practice.
Gun control advocates say data on gun ownership nationwide is lacking, and Illinois' bill skews more toward lax restrictions.
Colleen Daley, executive director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, said communities should be given six months to consider assault weapons bans.
A lack of a uniform reporting system makes tracking guns throughout the country difficult, Daley said.
'There's no information gathering, period.'
Perhaps more worrisome, however, is what happens if Illinois misses the deadline imposed by a federal court last December.
Counties throughout the state, including Kankakee, already have begun to dismiss cases where lawful gun owners were caught carrying or transporting a firearm illegally. According to the Illinois State Police, 1.4 million residents are licensed to own guns.
On July 10, the 2nd Amendment may be the only gun law in effect.
Posted over at The Daily Journal
Here's to numbnuts Quinn dragging his feet..... Constitutional Carry!