The Wednesday Journal, Oak Park’s local newspaper, ran an article discussing the history of Oak Park’s handgun ban. The facts: Oak Park’s handgun ban was the knee jerk reaction to a murder that was committed not in Oak Park, but Chicago. Two decades later, criminals in Oak Park commit shootings, robberies, and pistol whipping, while only Oak Park’s law abiding citizens obey the ban and are left vulnerable.
As the Wednesday Journal reported:
It all started when attorney and Oak Park resident James Piszczor was shot in a Chicago courtroom in 1983. His widow, best friend, and a group called the Oak Park Citizens Committee for Handgun Control fought for handgun control in the village.
The utter unfairness of Oak Park’s handgun ban
Sadly, in the wake of this murder, some of Oak Park’s citizens successfully worked to get a handgun ban passed, taking away the rights of about 50,000 people to own handguns. Looking at this from every perspective that I can, I remain unable to see how one can justify taking away the guns rights and self defense abilities of about 50,000 people, because one man was murdered in an entirely different city. Don’t get me wrong. I am not in any way discounting the horrible loss that James Piszczor’s family suffered; but rather I’m saying that it is neither rational, reasonable, or justifiable to take away the gun rights of so many law abiding people, because of Mr. Piszczor death – nor does doing so help prevent such a crime from happening again. No law abiding Oak Park resident murdered James Piszczor. Instead, he was killed by a criminal in Chicago, yet it is Oak Park’s law abiding citizens who paid the price.
The ineffectiveness of Oak Park’s handgun ban at deterring criminals
As I’ve stated a few times before on this website, Oak Park’s handgun ban simply does not prevent crime. The violaters of Oak Park’s handgun ban are punished with up to a $1,000 fine and confiscation of the handgun for a first offense, and up to a $2,000 fine for subsequent offenses. Now compare that rather light penalty with the life in prision, massive fines, etc. that can result from a murder, rape, or robbery conviction. If a criminal is not deterred by the very strong state laws against committing such felonies, then he or she will not be deterred by Oak Park’s gun ban. Nor have the much more severely punished handgun bans in cities such as Chicago or the District of Columbia resulted in a reduction in crime. The evidence shows, nation wide and locally, that gun control laws are disobeyed by criminals, just as criminals disobey other laws (and thats what makes them criminals). Whether they smuggle guns into the country, steal guns from the police, or use one of the hundreds of millions of guns that are already in the country, a criminal who wants a gun can and will get one. And that is true even in countries with the strictest gun control laws. Unfortunatly, the people who do obey the handgun ban are the law abiding citizens. These citizens are then left defenseless when an criminals decides to victize them, as they lack the special type of security that gun ownership provides. Equally sad is the disproportinant effect of gun control upon women.
For the good of Oak Park and its law abiding citizens, I sincerely hope the NRA’s lawsuit to overturn Oak Park’s handgun ban succeeds.
I am a retired Oak Park Police Officer. I started in April 1974 and retired in August 2004. If my memory serves me correct, the morning after the gun ban was passed a young American Indian man, who was discharged from the Marine Corps, was riding his bicyle to work about 4 in the morning. He lived on the 1000 N. Elmwood and I recall his name as Charles Silvernail Smith. As he was riding his bicycle to the CTA station to go to work unloading trucks at a downtown produce market, wearing his shabby clothes and riding a bicycle ( an uncool thing to do back then) he was set on by a group of white kids who were coming out of a party. They were possibly drunk. They chased Smith, knocked him off his bike and cornered him. What possibly went thru his mind at that time was Gen. Shermans comment, "The onlly good Indian is a dead Indian" Or the pride in the performance of his ancestors victory at Little Big Horn. Regardless. he returned to his Marine Corps training, pulled the pistol he carried for personal protection on the CTA train, and killed one of his attackers. He was later charged withg violation of the Oak Park handgun ban. The Oak Park Police conducted a terrific investigation eventually clearing the young man. I was wondering why no one comments on this case?
Fyi Chuck Smith was the grandson of Gus Battaglia whose produce company he worked for. His grandmother on his fathers side was 1/4 Indian, which made him 1/16 Indian. He was more Sicilian than anything and grew up fairly privileged like any of us in that part of Oak Park. He was not raised as an American Indian by any means, he was a wealthy Italian kid. He was considered to be EMH because of encephalitis contracted as a child which left him with some brain damage. He was a nice guy, I dated him in high school for many years. His Indian blood was something that was important to him but by no means did he think of himself as an 'Indian'or look the least bit Indian. His mom'a connection as a mob princess was probably more where his personal identity was at. The 1/16 Indian blood was handy when it came to getting some free land in Alaska.
You should get your facts straight before you rant. Your memory may serve your agenda but it is not ‘correct.’
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