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Suffredin Proposes Cook County Assault Weapons Ban

Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Special to

Chicago –   On July 12, 2005, Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin, 13th District, introduced an ordinance amending the Cook County Firearms Dealer’s License and Assault Weapons Ban Ordinance in an effort to make communities safer and strengthen existing county gun laws. The ordinance was referred to the Committee on Health and Hospitals for further review and hearings. Commissioners John P. Daley, 11th District, and Joan Patricia Murphy, 6th District joined Commissioner Suffredin as co-sponsors of the legislation.

Commissioner Suffredin said the assignment of the ordinance to the Committee on Health and Hospitals “is an acknowledgement of the public health danger caused by assault weapons in the community.”

The proposed amendment bans the sale and possession of assault weapons by modifying the definition of assault weapon to add a characteristic-based test. Any semiautomatic weapon with military features, which differ from those found on standard sporting firearms, would be banned under the proposal. Additionally, the proposal bans large capacity magazines that are capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

“Weapons with these features are all too effective at killing and must be taken off the streets,” commented Commissioner Suffredin.

The assault weapons ban, as it stands in Cook County, only pertains to those weapons listed by name or type. The proposed amendment retains the list, but updates it to include specific models of weapons not found in the existing ordinance.

The federal ban on assault weapons expired on September 13, 2004. Legislation is pending in Washington, D.C. to reauthorize the federal assault weapons ban. However, state and local governments are permitted to adopt their own regulations on assault weapons in order to supplement or exceed the standards set forth by the federal government.

Cook County was one of the first counties in the United States to ban assault weapons in 1993. Since then, local gun shops have not been able to sell certain assault weapons.

Commissioner Suffredin expects the County Board to pass the amendment in September. He believes this amendment “is a step in the right direction to make our neighborhoods and communities safer and address the senseless violence brought about by individuals possessing assault weapons.”

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