For a while, it was a weekly tradition for me to discuss the armed robberies and other gun-related crimes that plague Oak Park, IL (a suburb of Chicago that has a longstanding handgun ban.) After I moved out of the Chicago area, I stopped writing about Oak Park’s ineffective handgun on a weekly basis. But, as I said when I moved, gun rights for the residents of the Chicagoland area remain a goal of mine. With that preamble out of the way, I’ll move on to the substance of Oak Park’s recent gun-related crime:
- An Oak Park man walking in the alley behind the 700 block of S. Maple was attacked by two criminals who jumped out of a car. One of the attackers ran up behind the man and punched him in the back of the head. When the man fought back, the criminal produced a chrome semiautomatic handgun then robbed the man of $80 and his cell phone. The two robber then got back in their car and escaped.
- A man in the parking lot behind a Laundromat on the first block of Chicago Avenue was punched from behind and knocked to the ground by an attacker. When the man got up and turned around, another criminal punched him again, displayed a small dark-colored handgun, and robbed the victim of his wallet which contained $92. The robber then fled on foot.
Once again, this week’s crime in “gun free” Oak Park shows that passing a law which restricts gun ownership only effects the law abiding citizens, who weren’t going to commit a crime in the first place. The people who will pistol whip, shoot, carjack, or rob innocent people won’t think twice about some municipal ordinance that tells them they can’t have a gun, just as they disregard the laws that prohibit armed robbery, murder, etc. As a result, criminals know that Oak Park is where they can go to find unarmed victims, as criminals like easy targets and fear armed citizens who can defend themselves.
I would note that the idea of armed Oak Park citizens being better able to defend themselves that those that are unarmed is not just some hypothetical that I’ve come up with, but rather demonstrated fact. Over the last year and a half in Oak Park, there have been two reported cases of illegally armed people stopping a racist attacker and stopping an armed robber. These citizens were breaking both state and local laws by carrying a handgun, but by doing so they manged to save themselves from unprovoked and violent attacks. It is a sad situation when only those willing to break the law are able to defend themselves – and then have to fear prosecution for doing so.
The good news is that in the Spring of 2010, the Supreme Court will hear the case of McDonald v. Chicago, which challenges the Chicago handgun ban as being an unconstitutional violation of the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution. I’m pretty confident that the Supreme Court will strike down the Chicago (and Oak Park) handgun bans, putting an end to these ineffective handgun bans that only leave law-abiding victims at the mercy of the gun-ban-ignoring criminals.
As a final matter, I would like to not that the original report by Mr. Dwyer incorrectly called the second armed robber a “thief.” When I paraphrased the description of that crime, I corrected that reference to “robber.” Briefly stated, a thief is someone who takes property from the victim without a violent confrontation (e.g. stealing a wallet left out on a table). A robber, on the other hand, uses violence to take the victim’s property. Because of its violent nature, robbery is primarily a crime against the victim’s person, rather than that the victim’s property, and should not be confused with the much less serious crime of theft.
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