CLARENDON HILLS – Gun enthusiasts packed the Clarendon Hills Village Hall on Monday as several residents voiced their disdain over the board considering a ban on assault weapons in the village.
“I am a hunter and I demand that right [to own guns] under the Constitution,” said Floyd Bellman of Clarendon Hills. “I want my right to defend my property and my family and you cannot take that away from me.”
Bellman along with several other pro-gun residents got their wish as the board voted 4-2 against the ordinance that would put the ban into effect.
“I have spent precious little time thinking about guns in my life,” said Trustee Paul Pedersen. “I don't think about guns at all, but while receiving the emails that came to me I realized there are reasons to possess guns that I never thought of.”
Pedersen along with Village President Tom Karaba voted for the ordinance, while trustees Eric Stach, Paul Flood, Edward Reid and Don Knoll voted against it. Trustee Steve Wallace was not present at the meeting to vote.
The ordinance would have required at least five yes votes to pass.
A concealed gun law was recently approved in Illinois and a provision of the new law prevents local governments from adopting local regulations on assault weapons except for within 10 days of the law’s passing, which is July 19.
If the ordinance had been approved, the ban itself would not have begun until July 1, 2014.
Residents like Kirk Purcell were upset over the term “assault” riffle. He said several people associate that term with machine guns, but the rifle he uses, a .22 Caliber Marlin Model 60, would be classified as an assault rifle.
“I find it offensive that this would be classified as an assault weapon,” Purcell said.
Clarendon Hills Police Chief Ted Jenkins said Monday that a ban on assault riffles would not have an effect on safety in Clarendon Hills as an assault riffle problem does not exist.
Resident Phil Dalen agreed and said most murders aren't committed with assault riffles, but rather from blunt objects such as hammers and clubs.
“When was the last time we had a murder in the village with an assault riffle?” Dalen asked the board.
No one in attendance spoke in favor of the ordinance passing.
“Tonight is why we're all proud to be American,” Karaba said. “We can leave as friends and better than when we came in here.”