As I’ve mentioned before, Oak Park, IL has a handgun ban. People such as Frank Vozak, who chairs Oak Park’s health board, erroneously think that that handgun ban somehow makes Oak Park “gun free.” Just as having a law against murder doesn’t make the state of Illinois “murder free,” Oak Park’s handgun ban doesn’t prevent criminals from having handguns or committing crimes. The crime reports for this week (and just about every other week) make that fact abundantly clear:
Cavin Armstrong, 32, of Chicago was reportedly stopped by Oak Park police for an alleged expired vehicle registration sticker. A name check determined Armstrong was driving on a suspended license, and a vehicle search reportedly turned up a loaded 9mm handgun.
Illinois has laws against driving a car with expired registration. Illinois also has a law against driving on a suspended license. Finally, Illinois has a law against having an loaded gun in one’s car. Oak Park also separately bans handguns. Neither the state of Illinois laws nor the Oak Park laws prevented Mr. Armstrong from (allegedly) driving his unregistered car, on a suspended license, with a loaded pistol.
Also note that Oak Park’s handgun ban didn’t even come in to play here, as Mr. Armstrong was arrested for “unlawful use of a weapon,” which is the state of Illinois crime one commits by having a loaded weapon concealed on or about their person. The reason that Oak Park’s handgun ban was not used is rather simple: Violators of Oak Park’s handgun ban face a $1,000 to $2,000 fine, and no jail time; the unlawful use of a weapon charge is a felony with the potential to carry years in jail. This means that since it is already a much larger offense in Illinois to have a loaded gun in one’s car or on one’s person, the Oak Park handgun ban is not needed to keep people from carrying around loaded guns. Instead, it just deters law abiding residents from having a handgun in their home for self defense.
An Oak Park man walking on the 200 block of East Avenue was shot at 7-10 times with a BB gun. The man was reportedly hit once.
Again, state law and Oak Park law ban the firing of BB guns at people, yet the criminals here ignored the law.
A man on the 1000 block of North Humphrey suffered a home invasion. The criminal entered through a window during broad daylight, threatened the man with a knife, tied him, and robbed him.
There is a law against home invasion as well, but Oak Park is clearly not “home invasion free” any more than it is “gun free”. Rather than being able to defend themselves against home invading criminals, Oak Park residents have to hope that the criminal doesn’t decide to beat them to death or shoot them with an illegally owned gun. This Oak Park man was lucky, unlike this Oak Park mother and baby.
I could go on and on, but the point should be clear. Oak Park’s handgun ban does not make the village “gun free” because passing a law does not prevent criminals from breaking that law. Instead, laws only control the behavior of the law abiding. It simply does not make sense to think that a criminal who is willing to commit crimes such as home invasion, robbery, murder, etc. would be deterred by a law that tells them they can’t have a gun. Indeed, the proof is all too clear, yet some people choose to cling to the idea of gun control, despite overwhelming evidence that it does not work, and instead harms the very people it is supposed to protect.