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Batavia rejects assault weapons rules

Published: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 6:43 a.m. CDT

BATAVIA – Batavia aldermen have no interest in establishing local rules on assault weapons.

Aldermen on Monday unanimously voted to table discussion on the issue indefinitely.

The deadline for passing a local ordinance regulating assault weapons is Friday.

“I am against any gun restrictions on a local level,” 1st Ward Alderman Garran Sparks said.

Batavia Mayor Jeff Schielke said he also was against any local restrictions.

“Local ordinances are about as weak of government as there is,” Schielke said. “They mean probably nothing more than a slap on the wrist or a fine.”

Last week, Illinois became the last state in the nation to allow gun owners to carry concealed weapons.

Gov. Pat Quinn vetoed the legislation, but Illinois lawmakers voted to override the veto.

The new law calls for training and background checks for those who wish to carry a concealed firearm and preempts all local ordinances affecting concealed firearms and ammunition.

Batavia Police Chief Gary Schira has said that the city has very few gun crimes, let alone those involving assault weapons.

“To his knowledge, there have never been any crimes committed in the city of Batavia in which an assault weapon was involved,” City Attorney Kevin Drendel said in a memo to aldermen.

Drendel recommended that Batavia aldermen not pass a local ordinance.

“The effectiveness of a local assault weapons ban in Batavia, without a statewide ban, is probably limited at best,” he said. “Not only does a local ordinance have less teeth due to the limited penalty provisions, it is also less effective when there is no statewide law behind it.”

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