The concealed-carry law is now in effect in Illinois. The new law allows private citizens to carry guns in public. There are estimates that as many as 400,000 people statewide will apply for permits.
While the law prohibits the carrying of guns in certain places — including government buildings, schools, parks and bars — many locations will be open to people who are carrying hidden firearms. As soon as the concealed-carry permits are issued, you may well find that your local favorite restaurant is serving you a side order of guns without your knowledge. Our local bookstores might contain a new edition, which is not on the shelves. Our hardware stores might have an additional piece of hardware on the premises — a literal "piece" — a concealed weapon on the customer standing next to you.
There is a solution. Any owner can prohibit the carrying of hidden guns on their premises by displaying a sign at the entrance to his/her property. The 4 x 6-inch sign would make it illegal to carry a gun into that area.
According to the law, people have a right to carry concealed guns. But like all rights, it is not an unrestricted right. I have a right to say that I do not want you to carry a gun on my property. I also have a right to not frequent premises whose owners allow the carrying of concealed firearms. I want to know if a particular owner allows guns on their premises.
I fear however that many of the people who have a business in Oak Park are not fully aware that they are required to display the sign if they wish their business to remain gun free. Doing nothing, in this particular case, means that guns will be allowed in their store.
So I think that we all need to ask, "Do you allow guns in here?" when we enter a place of business in Oak Park. If we do not, we may well be served a side order of guns that we did not request.
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