Just before 1:30 a.m. Wednesday morning -- after several hours of passionate discussion -- the Naperville City Council on an 8-1 margin passed an ordinance to ban the commercial sale of assault rifles and large capacity magazines within its city limits.
Residents and business owners crowded the western suburb's City Hall Tuesday evening into Wednesday morning, with more than 130 people on both sides of the issue signed up to speak.
"This common sense ordinance represents an important step in helping us live peacefully and without fear," one woman who signed up to speak said, supporting the proposal.
But not everyone shared her views.
"This ordinance will not allow me and other women to access the tools necessary to defend our families in our own homes," a different resident said.
The ordinance comes about six weeks after an alleged gunman killed seven people and injured more than 40 others with an assault-style rifle during a Fourth of July Parade in Highland Park -- which also has a municipal assault weapons ban --- about 45 miles away from Naperville.
The suspect, who has pleaded not guilty to more than 100 charges against him, legally purchased the weapon in 2020 after obtaining in 2019 a Firearm Owner Identification Card with the help of his father's sponsorship.
While dozens said the ordinance is a step in the right direction, Robert Bevis, the owner of one of two gun shops in Naperville, spoke out against it.
"It will put me out of business – no doubt,” said Bevis. “Just losing the AR-15 – as a product that we sell – would put me out of business.”
"It's an agenda, its theater, its smoke and mirrors," Bevis continued. "Its not a way to stop crime or prevent a bad guy from getting a gun."
Bevis, who owns Law Weapons and Supply, said he plans to pursue legal action against the city of Naperville.