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Council acted emphatically in unanimously passing an assault weapons ban before a loud, boisterous crowd on July 15. The limited ban, significantly changed from the ordinance introduced just one week earlier, drew praise from gun enthusiasts and gun control advocates alike.
The July 8 version contained a definition of assault weapons that many found lacking. “What we have contains not just a ban but a definition,” said Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, of the July 8 version. “What we have is a list of features that might make a gun look scary.” In fact, the ordinance called the listed features “cosmetic.” The ordinance would not have banned high-capacity magazines, said Ald. Wilson, but might have banned ordinary hunting rifles.
“The City might pass an ordinance,” but not “ban what people are looking for it” to ban, Ald. Wilson said on July 8. “I want a quality product that won’t be overturned,” he added, when suggesting the ordinance proposed on July 8 be sent back to the City’s legal department for revision.
The ordinance proposed on July 15 differed significantly, removing the “cosmetic” features list for rifles, though retaining some of those features for semi-automatic handguns, and instead focusing primarily on the size of ammunition clips. The maximum capacity for rifle clips, detachable or fixed, will be 15 and for shotguns will be six. No clip limit was added to semi-automatic handguns.
The revised ordinance added an exception for gun collectors certified by the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
A number of those who spoke out against the July 8 version stood to praise the revised version. Chad Gailey said, “I am an avid hunter. I honor you guys for this bill. Last week’s bill was an atrocity.”
Those advocating stricter gun control also praised the ordinance. In the end, it passed unanimously. Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, said, “I’d like to thank Alderman Wilson for clearing the air and clearing the way for making the amendments that make sense.”
After the vote, the audience erupted into applause.