Oak Park, IL Cuts Police Protection and Keeps Handgun Ban as Armed Robberies Continue

Published by the LearnAboutGuns.com Author on September 5, 2008 at 12:47 am
LearnAboutGuns.com > Gun Related News > Oak Park, IL Cuts Police Protection and Keeps Handgun Ban as Armed Robberies Continue

The village of Oak Park, IL is one of only a few municipalities in the United States which still has a ban on the ownership of handguns for self defense, despite the Supreme Court’s ruling in D.C. v Heller.  In spite of the decades long handgun ban, there are weekly (and sometimes daily) armed robberies in Oak Park, along with the occasional shooting.  Oak Park is also short on cash, but has decided to become embroiled in a lengthy and expensive legal battle to keep the pointless handgun ban, rather than to use common sense.  Since money is limited, Oak Park is cutting police protection to save money, while violent crime against Oak Park residents continues:

Last winter it was announced that eight Oak Park patrol officer positions would be intentionally left unfilled in 2008 and, a deputy chief position was eliminated. The problem has grown worse with additional police officers leaving Oak Park for better funded and staffed police departments – all in a year when the crime rate is increasing.

This is a truly problematic situation:  Law abiding Oak Park citizens face home invasions, robberies, attempted rape, and pistol whippings.  As crime increases for the first time in years, police resources are being scaled back, and law abiding citizens are forbidden to have a handgun for self defense.  Instead of spending resources to fully staff the police department and fight crime, Oak Park will fight to try and keep their handgun ban.  What really bothers this author is seeing a progressive community such as Oak Park ignore the sexist nature of gun bans, the racist origns of gun bans, the real world implications of gun bans.  The approximately 60% of Oak Park residents who voted to take away the gun rights of the rest of Oak Park’s law abiding citizens should recognize these facts, along with the fact that gun ownership is a privacy, safety, and self determination issue – the very type of right that progressive communities such as Oak Park claim to support.

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  • Bill Dwyer

    If you guys are going to use reports from Wednesday Journal, try using them verbatim, that is, as I wrote them.

    The 39 year old man shot in July by his son was shot with HIS OWN GUN, which he kept in his home for protection.

    You left that out, but then, that doesn’t bolster your argument , does it?

    The home invasion in which the the woman was brutally attacked over the summer? That was her boyfriend, who bulled through the door while the woman was picking up a baby carrier. A gun wouldn’t have made a difference, though I’m sure you think it would have.

    Here’s one you haven’t heard yet:

    The night of Dec. 26 a resident of the 200 block of North Austin Blvd. was confronted outside his home by a man who displayed a 9 mm hand gun and demanded his money. When the man turned over $7 and his cell phone, the robber struck him in the head with the weapon. The victim then fought back and managed to take the other man’s gun.

    The robber then tried to bargain with the man, telling him he’d return the cash and cell phone if the man would return his Kel-tec 9 mm semi automatic pistol.

    “He did give him his property back,” said a rather amused Det. Commander Clemet Harbour. “But he didn’t get his gun back.” Instead, the victim-turned victor turned it over to police.

    Having a lethal weapon didn’t do the thief much good, and HE had the element of surprise.

    Bill Dwyer

  • http://www.learnaboutguns.com LearnAboutGuns.com

    Hi Bill,

    Thanks for the comments. My responses are below:

    If you guys are going to use reports from Wednesday Journal, try using them verbatim, that is, as I wrote them.

    I’ll pass on that, thanks, as I see no need to quote your articles verbatim (although I do link to them so those who are interested can read your original text). When you write about an armed robbery, you are focused on informing the community about crime that occurs within its borders, and often include information that is unnecessary to my discussion of guns and gun rights, such as the specific dates on which the robberies took place. My goal is to point out that Oak Park’s handgun ban (as well as the much more severely punished state laws that prohibit armed robbery or carrying a loaded gun) aren’t deterring these criminals, but are instead leaving the unarmed citizens vulnerable to gun-ban-ignoring criminals.
    Also, I don’t wish to copy your articles verbatim as doing so could be considered copyright infringement. I’m not going to get into a copyright and fair use discussion here, but lets just say that wholesale verbatim copying is harder to justify as fair use. If you would like to expressly grant me a license to reproduce your stories verbatim, to avoid any issues of copyright infringement, then I’ll give some more thought to your suggestion :)
    Also, it is not “you guys,” but one person that you are referring to: http://www.learnaboutguns.com/2008/05/01/my-biographical-and-demographical-information/

    The 39 year old man shot in July by his son was shot with HIS OWN GUN, which he kept in his home for protection. You left that out, but then, that doesn’t bolster your argument , does it?

    My point in that article was that Oak Park’s restrictions on gun ownership don’t prevent violent individuals from having a gun or misusing it. When that man was shot by his son, it was in violation of multiple Oak Park ordinances, as well as state laws, but that didn’t stop the son from opening fire. Note that I’ve never suggested that gun ownership is some cure-all for the world’s problems. Instead, my point is that gun bans are ineffective, and that such restrictions wrongfully prevent law abiding citizens from defending themselves against criminals. If you wish to see my comments on misuse of guns by negligent individuals, see the following articles as examples:
    http://www.learnaboutguns.com/2008/06/05/negligence-of-adults-causes-gun-related-death-of-child/
    http://www.learnaboutguns.com/2008/09/23/an-unintentional-shooting-death-in-chicago/
    http://www.learnaboutguns.com/2008/05/14/there-is-no-such-thing-as-an-accidental-shooting/
    http://www.learnaboutguns.com/2008/12/12/handguns-belong-in-holsters-not-waistbands/
    I also address safe and responsible gun storage, which could have kept this gun out of the hands of that man’s violent son: http://www.learnaboutguns.com/2008/04/19/safe-and-responsible-gun-storage/

    The home invasion in which the the woman was brutally attacked over the summer? That was her boyfriend, who bulled through the door while the woman was picking up a baby carrier. A gun wouldn’t have made a difference, though I’m sure you think it would have.

    I wasn’t there, so I can’t say whether that woman would have been able to defend herself, or if the other person in the house (who flagged down the passing cop) could have used the gun to defend the mother and baby. But whether this particular woman could have defended herself is not the real point. I support gun ownership so that people can have the chance of defending themselves, as many of them are able to do when armed (even when attacked by an abusive partner):
    http://www.learnaboutguns.com/2008/09/30/armed-woman-defends-herself-against-home-invading-stalker/
    http://www.learnaboutguns.com/2008/11/03/woman-shoots-rapist-who-came-back-to-rape-her-for-a-second-time/
    http://www.learnaboutguns.com/2008/08/21/85-year-old-woman-holds-burglar-at-gunpoint-makes-him-call-the-police/
    http://www.learnaboutguns.com/2008/07/08/austin-tx-woman-stops-attacker-with-her-handgun/
    http://www.learnaboutguns.com/2008/08/25/911-home-invasion-phone-call-video-clip/
    http://www.learnaboutguns.com/2008/08/01/every-13-seconds-an-american-uses-a-gun-in-self-defense/

    Here’s one you haven’t heard yet:
    The night of Dec. 26 a resident of the 200 block of North Austin Blvd. was confronted outside his home by a man who displayed a 9 mm hand gun and demanded his money. When the man turned over $7 and his cell phone, the robber struck him in the head with the weapon. The victim then fought back and managed to take the other man’s gun.
    The robber then tried to bargain with the man, telling him he’d return the cash and cell phone if the man would return his Kel-tec 9 mm semi automatic pistol.
    “He did give him his property back,” said a rather amused Det. Commander Clemet Harbour. “But he didn’t get his gun back.” Instead, the victim-turned victor turned it over to police.

    I did hear about that, and already wrote about it here: http://www.learnaboutguns.com/2008/12/31/more-armed-robberies-in-oak-park-il-despite-the-handgun-ban-2/

    Having a lethal weapon didn’t do the thief much good, and HE had the element of surprise.

    Some criminals are inept, and can’t pull off a robbery even when armed. However that is probably the exception, rather than the norm. I’ve been following the gun related crime in Oak Park for most of this year, and it is rare for an unarmed citizen to prevail against an armed robber, as I’m sure you know. As I’m sure you are also aware, the people who illegally carry guns in Oak Park have had a pretty high success rate when it comes to defending themselves. One man was able to fend off a racist attacker who had a bat, while another was able to resist an armed robbery (and take the armed robbers off the street):
    http://www.learnaboutguns.com/2008/07/31/bat-wielding-racist-assailant-shot-in-self-defense/
    http://www.learnaboutguns.com/2008/12/23/self-defense-shooting-in-oak-park-despite-the-handgun-ban/
    You can also take a look in the gun related news section of this website for stories about citizens who have defended themselves against criminals by using guns. The following website is an even better source for such stories: http://www.claytoncramer.com/gundefenseblog/blogger.html

    Also, you’ll note that I promptly posted your comment in its entirety, and did not edit it. Sadly, the Wednesday Journal does not do the same, but has instead blocked multiple comments of mine over the last 8 or so months. In every comment I left on the Wednesday Journal’s website, I used the same polite tone and civilized language that I use through this website, so I can only assume that my comments were blocked due to their content. I would urge the Wednesday Journal to not censor comments purely due to the views that are politely expressed in those comments.

    Feel free to comment again in the future, Bill. Or if you wish to debate gun rights in greater depth you can find my email address here: http://www.learnaboutguns.com/2008/03/19/contact-the-author-of-this-site/

  • Anders

    “If you guys are going to use reports from Wednesday Journal, try using them verbatim, that is, as I wrote them.”

    There is the problem of that little thing called … oh what was it…. it’s on the tip of my tongue… oh yes… The First Amendment, you know the one about freedom of speech and freedom of the press or some thing like that.
    I don’t think you have any right to stop Learn About Guns from using your articles as a source.

  • Hartman

    Anders:

    Very nice. The last refuge of those who know what they’re saying is indefensible, but want to say it anyway. I don’t recall Bill threatening suit or otherwise invoking anything legal that requires resorting to the First Amendment in response. Seems to me that he was asking for the author to give the full story, and show some consideration for the author instead of using his words to tell a story very different from what was intended.

    Of course I expect you to attack me as an anti-amendment nutcase. You should note that I do support the 2nd amendment along with the rest of them, and have frequently debated what I ought to do as an Oak Park resident to shore up my rights. I’m also well aware that telling half the story doesn’t ultimately help anyone with their rights, it just undermines your credibility.

  • http://www.learnaboutguns.com LearnAboutGuns.com

    Hartman,

    I can’t speak for Anders, although I will take a moment to address your comment from my perspective.

    First, no one said that the Wednesday Journal writer threatened a lawsuit. Instead, I interpreted Anders’ comment to be support for the right to free speech. Remember, social norms and the law are linked quite intrinsically, especially when it comes to the Bill of Rights, so I see nothing wrong with citing the 1st Amendment as justification for free speech, even outside a legal situation.

    Secondly, as I told the Wednesday Journal writer, I don’t see his particular word choice as being authoritative. That writer didn’t witness the robberies, but instead looked into public records, reworded them, and published the story. His goal of reporting the news that is of general interest to the local Oak Park community is different than my goal of discussing the gun issues, not to mention that I disagree with some of his word choices. I distill out the salient facts, and discuss them, which I’m more than entitled to do as a matter of law and social norms.

    Finally, I don’t see this as telling “half the story.” I link to the full article, and don’t omit information that I believe to be relevant, even if it would undermine the point I’m trying to make. That Wednesday Journal writer seemed to think otherwise, but I’ve already addressed those points in the article I dedicated to rebutting his comments.

    Finally, Hartman, you’ll note that your comment was promptly posted in its entirety. That is more than can be said for the Wednesday Journal, which seems to censor some pro gun rights comments.