As I’ve mentioned many times before, Oak Park, IL still has a handgun ban. Oak Park decided to keep that ineffective and likely unconstitutional law on the books, even as other Chicago suburbs such as Evanston, Morton Grove, Wilmette, and Winnetka wisely repealed their handgun bans in 2008. As crime reports for this last week show, the Oak Park handgun ban is continuing to infringe the rights of law abiding citizens, while failing to stop the armed robbers who prey upon its citizens:
- A robber brandished a silver revolver in a business on the 6300 block of North Avenue, on the afternoon of Jan. 12, threatening the lives of those present. The robber then took $199 cash and fled.
- On January 13, 2010, a robber pulled a black handgun and demanded his victim’s money at gunpoint, on the 8000 block of Madison Street. The victim handed over $5.50 and the robber escaped on foot.
- Just after 3 AM on January 16, a pair of robbers entered the 7-Eleven store at 240 Chicago Avenue. One of the robbers brandished a handgun while demanding money. The two robbers took a total of $60, plus six packs of cigarettes, then escaped.
- Two robbers entered a business at Chicago Avenue and Austin Avenue on the evening of Jan. 17. One robber displayed a silver semi-automatic handgun and announced their intent to commit a robbery. The robbers grabbed a box of cigars, cash, and a cell phone, valued at $787, then fled.
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.
It is worth noting 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. 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 indeed when only those willing to break the law are able to defend themselves – and then have to fear prosecution for doing so. Hopefully, Oak Park’s handgun ban (along with Chicago’s handgun ban) will soon be struck down by the Supreme Court in the pending McDonald v. Chicago case.
On a final note, I am sad to say that Wednesday Journal staff reporter Bill Dwyer is continuing to confuse robbery and theft. His news report, in which I found the information regarding the four above discussed armed robberies, refers to two of the robbers as thieves. This is a point of law and correctness that Mr. Dwyer and I have discussed before, so I won’t belabor the point here. Instead, I will just note that robbery is a much more serious crime than theft, and that reporting a robbery as a theft is akin to reporting a stabbing murder as a non-fatal stabbing. A full discussion on that point can be seen in this article.