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McHenry County Conservation District assault weapons ban is defeated

Published: Saturday, July 20, 2013 4:35 p.m. CDT • Updated: Saturday, July 20, 2013 11:39 p.m. CDT

RINGWOOD – A proposed ordinance that would have banned assault weapons on McHenry County Conservation District property was narrowly voted down last week.

The MCCD Board of Trustees had until midnight Friday to make a decision – one that opponents of the ordinance argued was unnecessary.

"It's just going to add complexity," said Matthew Ewertowski, who was appointed the board's new president at the meeting Thursday night.

He pointed to other area communities and asked whether the proposal was needed and wondered why hadn't they passed a ban.

Board Treasurer Kent Krautstrunk countered that the conservation district isn't like a city, which oversees a mix of public and private land. The conservation district regulates only its own property.

"I don't like us relinquishing control," he said, adding that passing a ban would have given the conservation district the ability to change it in the future.

The MCCD banned all guns on its property, but a fix passed Thursday night after the assault weapons ban failed in a 4-3 vote brings the district in line with state law.

Those with concealed-carry permits still would be prohibited from bringing their guns into government buildings, museums and playgrounds.

The law specifically bans concealed carry in the Cook County Forest Preserve and city parks maintained by park districts or municipalities. Conservation districts are not included.

The details still are being worked out, Executive Director Elizabeth Kessler said. The Illinois State Police has six months to set up the program.

The vote breakdown

The MCCD Board of Trustees voted, 4-3, against a ban on assault weapons on conservation district property.

In favor of the ban: Trustee Stephen Barrett of Trout Valley, Treasurer Kent Krautstrunk of Crystal Lake and Trustee David Brandt of Wonder Lake

Against the ban: President Matthew Ewertowski of Crystal Lake, Trustee Brandon Thomas of Huntley, Trustee Bonnie Leahy of Union and Secretary Bona Heinsohn of Harvard

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