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'We're gonna file a couple lawsuits': Naperville gun store owner fights city over high-powered weapons ban

Naperville gun store owner fights city over high-powered weapons ban
Naperville gun store owner fights city over high-powered weapons ban 02:08

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The owner of a Naperville gun store said he will sue the city to fight their just-passed ban on the sale of certain high-powered rifles.

CBS 2's Tim McNicholas tells us how that will set the stage for a legal showdown over the ordinance.  

The AR-15 and similar rifles are some of the top sellers for Robert Bevis and his Law Weapons and Supply gun store, making up about 35% of his sales.

He said Naperville's new ordinance will drive customers away, put him out of business, and, in his eyes, violate constitutional rights.

"We're gonna file a couple lawsuits here. We've been speaking with multiple lawyers about the constitutional issue, preemption law," Bevis said. 

And the folks here at city hall say they're ready for that fight. Naperville City Attorney Mike DiStanto sent CBS 2 an email saying they're prepared to defend the ordinance.

DiSanto also told Naperville City Council last month the ordinance is designed to withstand challenges.

"It was based on what we had seen out there that had been tested by the courts and upheld," said DiSanto.

While some states and cities ban possession of assault-style rifles, Naperville's ordinance only bans the sale. The ordinance, which takes effect in January, was approved by an 8-1 margin with the support of the mayor.

"There's so many different things that can be done or should be done," said Mayor Steve Chirico. "And I think access to these kinds of weapons for certain individuals is one of those things.

"All this ordinance does is prevent law abiding citizens from buying those firearms," Bevis said.

The ordinance states gun stores can only sell these rifles to law enforcement come January.

"I'm very confident that we'll win in the end," Bevis said. 

And for all their differences, that confidence is one thing Bevis and the city of Naperville have in common. The city of Naperville said the attorney who defended Highland Park's assault weapons ban will work with them for free.

Meanwhile, Bevis said he's already in touch with several gunowners' rights organizations. 

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