Updated: September 17, 2013 7:44AM
Homewood residents who faced fines of up to $750 for owning a working assault weapon and keeping it in the village can now keep them, as long as they aren’t brought into public places.
On the recommendation of village attorney Chris Cummings, the village board on Tuesday gutted the ordinance it passed last month banning assault weapons.
Cummings said the state’s new concealed-carry law left it “open to interpretation” whether non-home-rule municipalities such as Homewood had the right to ban such weapons. Cummings said although he believes the village has that right, the state law does “not spell out crystal clearly” whether that is the case.
Trustees in July voted 5 to 0 to enact a ban requiring that anyone in the village with an assault weapon either remove it from the village limits, turn it in to police, or alter the weapon to make it permanently inoperable within 90 days. Violators were subject to fines of $100 to $750.
Now assault weapons are prohibited only in public places.
“I went back and strictly tailored this so we are well within the bounds of what we can do as a non-home-rule municipality,” Cummings said.
Cummings acknowledged that at a July board meeting, some residents “raised the question” of whether Homewood had the authority to enact its ban, which required that semiautomatic pistols or rifles with a fixed magazine holding 15 rounds or more of ammunition be modified or turned in.
Illinois’ new concealed-carry legislation gave local communities 10 days to create or adjust local assault weapons measures. Cummings said Homewood is the only non-home-rule municipality to have approved an assault weapons ban.
“I think the important thing is that we had 10 days to enact this ordinance, which we did,” Mayor Rich Hofeld said. “We said ... at the time that we would review this, and our attorney has done that and we are modifying it accordingly.”
A federal appeals court ruled in December that Illinois’ ban on carrying concealed handguns in public was unconstitutional. Illinois last month became the last state to allow citizens to legally carry a concealed handgun.