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County tweaks assault-weapons bill

Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Daily Southtown
by Jonathan Lipman Staff writer

A long-stalled update to Cook County's assault-weapons ban was approved Tuesday during the board's final session of the term.
The board also renamed the county's administrative building at 69 W. Washington St. for longtime board president George Dunne, who died earlier this year. It also postponed action on a fair-housing initiative.
Commissioners pushed for final votes on several proposals Tuesday so the initiatives wouldn't expire when the board's term ends Dec. 4.
The gun bill, which has languished in committee for more than a year, makes the ban more inclusive by replacing a list of specifically banned weapons, such as the AK-47, with a list of descriptive terms such as automatic rifles with magazines of 10 rounds or more.
Ordinance author Larry Suffredin said more than 86 percent of voters were in favor of such a ban in a non-binding referendum question on the ballot last week.
"I think this is something the people want," he said.
Suffredin (D-Evanston) said he changed the bill at the last minute to exempt some hunting rifles, satisfying concerns from Republican commissioners Carl Hansen and Elizabeth Gorman.
Like many county ordinances, the ban affects unincorporated areas of the county and any municipality that does not have its own ordinance on the same subject.
The gun bill was an issue during the recent race for board president, with Democrat Todd Stroger saying he backed the bill while Republican Tony Peraica opposed it.
The only commissioner who voiced concerns about the bill was Joseph Mario Moreno (D-Chicago), who voted "present." All other commissioners were recorded as voting yes on a "voice vote" that does not require a roll call.
Suffredin also tried to win approval for a change to the county's human rights ordinance that would have prevented landlords from rejecting tenants on the basis of their source of income.
But commissioners decided to tackle the issue next term after Commissioner Forrest Claypool (D-Chicago) pointed out the measure would force landlords to participate in the Section 8 voucher program, which is now voluntary.


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