Naperville bans high-powered assault weapons

Noah Rozek, Profiles Editor

The Naperville City Council banned the commercial sale of high powered assault weapons such as AR-15s on Aug. 17 following the mass shooting that occurred in Uvalde, Texas.

The ordinance passed with an 8-1 vote, with only councilman Paul Hinterlong voting against the ordinance. 

“We agree that this is going to do nothing, but we’re going to stick our neck out here for being sued and have the possibility of losing a couple million dollars in lawyers’ fees when we lose,” Hinterlong said at a city council meeting on Aug. 16. “What is the sense in that?”

Councilman Ian Holzhauer is well aware of the lawsuits against Naperville that are to come.

“I don’t govern based on what people are threatening against me,” Holzhauer said. “I’m going to do what I think is right for the community, and keeping people safe is number one.”

Both Holzhauer and councilman Benny White are retired military personnel. White speaks of the danger of assault weapons and the lack of necessity.

“I’ve fired machine guns, all kinds of stuff like that, but I definitely don’t have one in my home,” White said. “Assault rifles may not be quite at [the level of] a machine gun, but they’re at the point where they’re dangerous enough they don’t need to be in the hands of a normal citizen.”

White reminds of the mental difficulties the community is facing, along with the importance of the weapons ban. 

“Folks who are [committing these shootings] generally are dealing with some kind of mental crisis in their life,” White said.

Though the ban will only prevent the commercial sale of assault weapons, White expects a larger scale impact.

“Naperville is a leader in the state, especially in this region,” White said. “There’s hope that if Naperville does it, others will follow.”

Holzhauer attributes young people speaking out as the fuel for change locally; despite the threat of lawsuits pushback continues for the benefit of the community.

“It’s one of those jobs where we can’t make everyone happy,” White said. “We know who we are, I know who I am, and our values speak to it.”