How LHS Students Feel About the Deerfield Assault Weapon Ban


Jenna Grayson

A map of parts of Lake County and Cook County displays the locations of the Illinois cities of Libertyville, Deerfield and Chicago in relation to each other. Map data from Google Maps.

     In early April, the Deerfield Village Board of Trustees unanimously passed an ordinance that banned the manufacturing, possession or sale of assault weapons and detachable and large capacity magazines. Other firearms are not affected by the ordinance.

     Deerfield is a Lake County suburb 12 miles southeast of Libertyville, another suburb in the same municipal county. Both towns are about 30 miles north of Chicago, which has a rate of non-fatal shootings that ranked the 12th worst of out 68 cities in the United States from 2010-2015, according to data analyzed by The Trace from the Major Cities Chiefs Association, an association of police chiefs and sheriffs who represent large cities in the United States and Canada.

     The ordinance cited the use of assault weapons in recent mass shootings, listing the locations of Parkland, Florida; Sutherland Springs, Texas; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Orlando, Florida, along with the number of people killed in each incident. The new ordinance stated that it has the potential to increase the public’s sense of safety at public events and venues, as well as the potential to deter and prevent a mass shooting

     Deerfield residents have until June 13, when the ordinance goes into effect, to turn in their assault weapons and banned accessories to the village. Anyone found to have violated the ordinance will receive a daily fine between $250-$999 for each offense.

     The village’s assault ban made national news and was followed by a lawsuit from the National Rifle Association three days after its passing and again when a second lawsuit was filed against it by Deerfield resident John William Wombacher and pro-gun advocacy group Guns Save Life, according to The Chicago Tribune.

     Some students at LHS believe that Deerfield’s ban on assault weapons is a good decision, such as junior Lillian McGowen, who said that she was “really surprised that it was something so close and [thinks] it’s really cool because it’s so close to home.” She added that she was pleased to see that this was “taken into action.”

     Although McGowen believes that the ban will be effective, she stated that “it’s kind of hard to say the difference it’s going to make” because of Deerfield’s low rate of gun-related crimes.

     Other students at LHS, such as senior Timothy Franz, feel that Deerfield’s assault weapon ban won’t be effective, citing Waukegan and Chicago’s gun laws as an example, stating that “strict gun laws don’t restrict crime [and] they usually have high death rates and still have high gun violence even after the ban.” He also elaborated on how “most of the weapons [perpetrators] get are from the black market.”

     Franz added that Deerfield’s assault weapons ban is “restricting people’s Second Amendment gun right to certain weapons…[and is] taking the guns out of people’s hands who are legal, lawful gun owners, and they’re more focusing on the illegal gun crimes that happen, not the people who follow gun laws and obey when to use it and how to use it.”

     McGowen described gun ownership in Chicago as “just a big thing within itself, like where people are getting their guns and illegally owning guns and especially since other states have such lax laws.” She believes that “something national needs to be implemented [on gun control],” adding that it would be “really nice to see some new gun implementations just because of the high crime rates in Chicago and stuff.”

     McGowen thinks that it’s likely that other towns in Lake County will introduce similar ordinances to Deerfield’s and similarly, Franz believes that something like that village’s assault-weapon ban is “going to happen to Libertyville or our area.”