Updated: August 17, 2013 6:49AM
Evergreen Park trustees on Monday night rejected a proposed prohibition on assault weapons after hearing from several gun advocates who urged them to not approve the measure.
Several sportsmen, competitive shooters and defenders of the Second Amendment requested that the village board not take action to ban a wide variety of rifles, pistols and shotguns. No one spoke in support of prohibiting the guns
A provision of the state’s new concealed-carry law gives home-rule communities — mostly those with populations of 25,000 or more —until July 19 to ban assault weapons within their borders. Homewood, Hazel Crest and Calumet Park are the only towns in the Southland so far to do so.
“The people didn’t want this. Tonight they were heard,” Mayor James Sexton said.
Sexton said towns would not be in a position to create a patchwork of local laws banning assault guns if Cook County or the state would outlaw such dangerous weapons.
“We shouldn’t be sitting here talking about this,” he said. “The state, as I said, has not acted.”
Opponents of such a ban asked trustees a variety of questions about the proposal, with some suggesting that trustees were ill-informed about the effects of prohibiting the guns.
“It seems that none of you are qualified, with all due respect,” Harry Galinski, a Chicago resident, said.
The proposed ordinance described an assault weapon as a “semiautomatic rifle that has the capacity to accept a large-capacity magazine detachable or otherwise.”
Larry Merchantz, a veteran and a retired police officer, said the prohibition would prevent him from owning the rifles that he uses in competitive shooting.
“I don’t see a need for a ban like this,” Merchantz said. “It will ban, in effect, rifles that are used in competition. I certainly understand the board’s concerns. Don’t ban (the rifles) that are used in competition.”
Opponent John Young said the ban is not appropriate for a working-class community like Evergreen Park.
“All the communist, leftie communities up north are doing this,” Young told the board. “This is a mistake you’re making. You’re ill-informed.”