Winnetka Votes For Right to Bear Arms

Chicago suburb reversed its 20-year-old weapons ordinance

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    "Winnetka is a better community because of the handgun ban," Village President Ed Woodbury had said prior to Tuesday's vote.

    Despite pleas from residents gathered at a town hall meeting Tuesday night, Winnetka officials voted to repeal a 20-year ban on handguns.

    A Supreme Court ruling in June declared that the Second Amendment guarantees the right of individual Americans to keep and bear arms.

    In September, three Winnetka residents and the National Rifle Association sued the village, stating that the local ban violated their rights protected by the Constitution.

    The plaintiffs claimed they were "subjected to irreparable harm in that they were unable to obtain handguns and ammunition to protect themselves in their homes ... subjecting them to endangerment from criminal intruders."

    The Village Board referenced both the high court ruling and the lawsuit in making it's decision Tuesday night.  Council members said they feared if they didn't repeal the ordinance it would cost the suburb thousands of dollars to fight the suit with the real risk of still losing in court.

    With the Winnetka ruling, handguns in homes will now be permitted for the first time in 20 years, but firing guns and gun sales will still be prohibited.

    The Village Council called a meeting in October to address the issue. A number of residents spoke up passionately, arguing to keep the ban.

    "Winnetka is a better community because of the handgun ban," Village President Ed Woodbury said prior to Tuesday's vote, according to WinnetkaTalk. "The choice in front of us is nothing short of terrible."

    Winnetka's handgun ban, and others like it, has been closely examined since the Supreme Court ruling. 

    Other Chicago suburbs that have taken steps to reverse their local handgun bans are Wilmette, Evanston, Morton Grove and Oak Park.