Oak Park begins to mull new gun regulations

January 24, 2012

More than a year after its gun ban was gutted by the U.S. Supreme Court, the village of Oak Park will finally begin the process of overhauling its firearm regulations Tuesday night.

The Oak Park Board of Health is set to hold a public hearing on how the village should go about redrafting its ordinance, which was effectively struck down in June 2010 when the high court ruled that the Second Amendment to the Constitution protects an individual's right to own a gun for self defense.

The city has been taking time "let the dust settle" since the ruling, said Oak Park Village Manager Tom Barwin.

"The main idea is to try to move away from this pitched, emotional fight over interpreting the Second Amendment, to ... beginning to understand the health and safety implications of just far too much firearm violence in our society and in our culture," Barwin said.

Oak Park stepped away from its outright gun ban following the justices' ruling, though the village still bans assault weapons. The landmark decision in the case of McDonald v. the City of Chicago also invalidated a simliar law in Chicago.

Former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, an outspoken proponent of tough gun laws, crammed a restrictive new gun ordinance through the City Council just days after the ruling. It requires would-be gun owners to submit to a background check, take a five-hour firearms training course, and it also bans assault weapons.

Oak Park officials have been looking to Chicago and other cities as they look to overhaul their own gun ordianance, Barwin said. The Oak Park Village Board would have to approve any new restrictions.