Morton Grove, IL to continue handgun ban


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Preacherman
November 30, 2004, 06:54 AM
From the Morton Grove Champion (http://www.pioneerlocal.com/cgi-bin/ppo-story/localnews/current/mg/11-25-04-435357.html), November 25, 2004:

MG to continue enforcing gun ban

BY KEN GOZE
STAFF WRITER

Morton Grove Police will continue to enforce the village's historic handgun ban despite a bill approved this week over a governor's veto aimed at curtailing local gun laws.

Senate Bill 2165, which bars local prosecutions in self-defense cases, was drafted last year in response to an incident involving Wilmette resident Hale DeMar, who shot and wounded a burglar in his home. DeMar was cleared of any wrongdoing in the shooting, but faces a fine and loss of two handguns under a local law banning handgun possession.

The "DeMar" bill passed both the House and Senate earlier this year, but Gov. Rod Blagojevich vetoed the bill. But both the Illinois House and Senate voted to override his veto during the recent veto session.

All North Shore area legislators voted against the bill last year and support concerns that it would block effective enforcement of almost any local gun control.

Sen. Jeffrey Schoenberg, D-9th, said the recent court decision rejecting DeMar's challenge of the local law adds some weight to the argument against the bill.

"The courts have clearly underscored what critics of this bill have said all along, which is that it reaches too far and its end goal is to undercut local control over stronger gun laws," Schoenberg said.

Morton Grove Corporation Counsel Terry Liston said the bill allows someone charged with violation of a local gun ordinance to use as a defense the fact that a gun was used to defend himself or others at home or at a place of business.

"It doesn't nullify our law," Liston said. "It's new. We have to see how the case law interprets the statue. We'll be watching it."

Morton Grove drew national attention in 1981 when it became the first municipality in the country to ban not only the sale of handguns, but also their possession. The law went into effect the following year and withstood several court challenges.

Morton Grove Police Deputy Chief Louis Rossi said any violations of the ordinance will be assessed on a case by case basis to determine if they are impacted by the new state statute.

"Right now nothing is going to be changed," he said. "The handgun ordinance is still in effect. This doesn't give anyone permission to bring guns into the village."

Getting the bill passed was one of the top priorities of the Illinois State Rifle Association.

"We still get calls on it here every day wanting to know what the status is. People really don't like the idea of a local municipality taking away your right to self defense with the most efficient implement available, and so it's very popular among gun owners," said Richard Pearson, executive director.

One factor which may play a part in the debate is the perception of the incident which led to the bill. At the time of the shooting, DeMar was seen as a homeowner who acted heroically after being cornered in his own home by a career felon. Since that time, newspaper columnists and others analyzing the case have questioned whether DeMar anticipated a confrontation with the man who had broken into his home the night before the shooting.

According to police reports, he had not changed the locks following the first burglary, when a set of keys and his car were taken along with other items. After going to sleep in the same room with his 8- and 10-year-old children, and with a loaded revolver under his bed, a home alarm panel alerted him to someone in the house, reports state. DeMar went downstairs with the gun, where he opened fire on 31-year-old Morio Billings, striking him twice.

DeMar did not call 911, and police were summoned to the house by the alarm company and by a call from a neighbor awakened by the commotion of Billing's escape. Contrary to some accounts, police do not believe DeMar tried to block Billing's exit from the house. He ran past a door and then punched out a front window and jumped out.

Police have declined to comment on the case, but soon after the incident Chief George Carpenter said it could have turned into a tragedy if the burglar had been armed or had accomplices. Police also noted that one of the four rounds fired went through a window into the surrounding neighborhood and was never found.

Billings is serving a seven-year prison sentence stemming from the incident. He told police he had been in the area on a visit from Minnesota when he first broke into DeMar's home to support a crack cocaine habit. After buying and using the drug, he returned on the second night to take a flat-screen computer monitor he believed was a high-end television. Because he pointed his getaway vehicle down a dead-end street, he had to drive through a yard and fence to access an alley and drive himself to a hospital, where he was arrested.

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El Tejon
December 1, 2004, 10:34 AM
:neener:

Your feckless law has now been made even more feckless! :neener:

Chicago :neener:
Morton Grove :neener:
Oak Park :neener:
inter alia :neener:

Standing Wolf
December 1, 2004, 11:46 AM
Wannabe tyrants never tire.

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