Crete mulls local ordinance changes because of gun, medical pot bills

2013-06-29T22:00:00Z 2013-06-30T01:38:05Z Crete mulls local ordinance changes because of gun, medical pot billsGregory Tejeda Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
June 29, 2013 10:00 pm  • 

CRETE | Municipal officials will spend the next few weeks contemplating changes to local ordinances in case Gov. Pat Quinn signs into law measures on the concealed carry of firearms and medical marijuana.

Both bills were approved this spring by the Illinois General Assembly, but Quinn has not yet given them final approval.

When the Village Board met last week, Village Attorney James Stevenson advised officials the possible state laws would require them to adapt existing ordinances to bring them into compliance.

Village officials took no action, but Stevenson suggested the board have "something ready at least on an interim basis” if the two measures are enacted.

In the case of Illinois issuing permits allowing people to carry pistols for self-protection, Village President Michael Einhorn said he understands the village could prohibit people from bringing firearms into the Village Hall, 524 W. Exchange St., or other village facilities.

That would mean village employees could obtain a concealed carry permit and have a pistol but bring it to work with them.

Police Chief James Paoletti said the pending bill also would allow local taverns and restaurants that do significant business selling alcoholic beverages to prohibit firearms on their premises.

Village Trustee Dean Gaffney said, “Thank goodness.”

Paoletti talked about one way people with criminal records might get around their inability to qualify for a concealed carry permit.

“They’ll get a clean girlfriend,” he said, who likely will apply for the permit and carry the weapon, then turn it over to the boyfriend when he wants to use it.

With regards to people getting prescriptions to legally purchase marijuana for medical relief, Einhorn and Paoletti said local ordinances would have to specify that village employees would not be permitted to work at times when they are using the drug.

Paoletti also said he thinks police would be able to stop motorists who are suspected of driving under the influence of marijuana. He could not say what standards would be applied to determine what constitutes driving while impaired.

“There won’t be people driving, even with a script” for marijuana, Stevenson said.

Einhorn said, “We should be able to require that people not be out (when they're using marijuana), that they stay home.”

Village Trustee Mark Wiater expressed some dismay that the General Assembly's actions this spring will require the two issues to be considered.

“Either medical marijuana or concealed carry would be a concern, but (the legislature) had to mix the two together,” he said.

Quinn has until mid-August to decide what to do with both bills, although the state is facing a July 9 deadline set by the federal Court of Appeals in Chicago to have some sort of law in place that sets rules for people to obtain concealed carry permits.

Einhorn said that means the issues will have to be studied by the Village Board in coming weeks, with some sort of village policy likely to be approved this summer. Stevenson said village officials are totally justified in taking their own action.

The village “(governs their) own employees,” Stevenson said.

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