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alan
February 12, 2004, 07:36 PM
Legislators weigh exemption to local gun bans

February 11, 2004

BY DAVE MCKINNEY Sun-Times Springfield Bureau Advertisement






SPRINGFIELD -- The shots Wilmette resident Hale DeMar fired at a home intruder echoed through the state Capitol on Tuesday as gun rights advocates pushed legislation to spare homeowners like DeMar from being prosecuted under local handgun bans.

The measure, which advanced out of the Senate Judiciary Committee by a 6-4 vote, would allow residents in communities that prohibit handgun ownership to use handguns in their home for self-defense, even though local law may bar them from owning the weapons in the first place.

"I believe in circumstances like this, an individual should be afforded the right to self protection, and no government at any level should interfere with that right," said Sen. Ed Petka (R-Plainfield), lead sponsor of the bill.

DeMar shot a burglar in his home in late December, a day after the intruder broke in. Justifying his move as a form of "civic duty," DeMar said he had no other choice but to wield the weapon to protect his family, despite violating Wilmette's anti-handgun ordinance.

The village has charged DeMar with violating its handgun ban, which carries a possible fine and forfeiture of his gun. The Cook County state's attorney's office, however, dropped a separate weapons charge against him.

While sympathetic to DeMar's plight, opponents of the legislation said it would undermine local authority and possibly give gun owners wide latitude to use their weapons outside their homes in further violation of the law.

"Our ordinance itself and the concept of local control of handguns would very much be undermined by this legislation," said Timothy Frenzer, Wilmette's corporation counsel told the Senate panel.

The proposal amounts to an election-year headache for many lawmakers wary of taking sides in the volatile gun-control debate. Its fate now rests with Senate President Emil Jones (D-Chicago), an ardent supporter of handgun restrictions on the books in Chicago and several suburbs.

"Even though I'm for gun control, I regret to think what might have happened had he not had the gun," the Chicago Democrat said, adding that he had not taken a position on the bill.

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Jeff White
February 12, 2004, 08:30 PM
We'll see how the Wilmette Village Council feels after they have to start paying the bills to defend their PC law all the way through the state and federal court system. This will be a great case to take to court.

A straight preemption law would have zero chance of passing in Illinois. Chicago is a law unto itself. There are more exemptions in the state laws for the city of Chicago and Cook county on so many things that prememtion of local laws would make them have to drastically change the way they do business up there.

The more I think about it, we should have three more states in the union. The three megalopolis's (New York, Chicago and LA) need to be their own states so that the people who live in the rest of the states they are presently in could live the way they want to. They'd all three probably soon be cesspools like Washington DC, but at least they would suck up the freedom and dollars of those who choose to live elsewhere.

Jeff

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